Disabilityand)theCapabilityApproach) - SDU

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Disability and the Capability Approach AnneMarie S. Christensen Department of the Study of Culture – Philosophy University of Southern Denmark [email protected] 1

Transcript of Disabilityand)theCapabilityApproach) - SDU

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Disability  and  the  Capability  Approach      

Anne-­‐Marie  S.  Christensen  Department  of  the  Study  of  Culture  –  Philosophy    

University  of  Southern  Denmark  [email protected]  

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 So  the  way  we  think  about  the  needs  of  children  and  adults  with  impairments  and  disabilities  is  not  a  special  department  of  life,  easily  condoned  of  from  the  ‘average  case’.  It  also  has  implications  for  the  way  ‘normals’  (people  with  average  ?laws  and  limitations)  think  about  their  parents  as  they  age  –  and  about  the  needs  they  themselves  are  likely  to  have  if  they  live  long  enough.  (Nussbaum  2006,  101)  

 

 

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What  to  do…  

 •  Introduction  •  The  Capability  Approach  •  Nussbaum’s  list  of  capabilities  •  Disability  according  to  the  Capability  Approach      

 

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Founders  of  the  Capability  Approach    

 Amartya  Sen  (1933-­‐).  Economist.  Philosopher.  

Martha  Nussbaum  (1947-­‐)  Philosopher.  Feminist.        

 

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Background  

•  The  Capability  Approach  grows  out  of  a  concern  for  social  justice  •  Two  main  concerns:    

a)   Philosophical:      How  do  we  achieve  justice  for  human  beings?    We  need  an  understanding  of  the  good  for  human  beings  

 b)    Economical:    

 How  do  we  measure  the  quality  of  lives  in  societies?      BNP?  Utility  measure?  Problems?    

v Measures  average,  not  individuals    v  Exclusive  focus  on  resources  v  Insuf?icient  focus  on  autonomy,  individual  life  choices  

 

 

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Fundamental  Assumptions  of  the  Capability  Approach  

A.    Justice  concerns  ends,  not  means    We  should  secure  valuable  ends  for  people,  not    particular  means    

 

B.    Capabilities  are  such  valuable  ends!  •  NOT  Functioning:  Activities,  doings  à  Focus  on  achievements  •  BUT  Capabilities:  Practical  opportunities  to  function;  what  we  can  be  &  can  do  à  Focus  on  possibilities  

C.    Capabilities  are  determined  by  the  social  context    

D.    Justice  requires  that  individuals  have  capabilities  above  a  minimum  threshold  

 

E.    The  Capabilities  Approach  allows  for  pluralism  in  ways  of                  living  

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What  Capabilities?    

 Sen:    •  The  relevant  capabilities  should  be  found  through  a  democratic  process  in  each  society  

•  (  Relativism.  Conservatism…?)  

Nussbaum:    •  We  need  an  objective  list  •  The  capabilities  are  not  interchangeable  nor  commensurable  &  cannot  be  measured  via  access  to  resources  (in  contrast  to  Sen)  

•  The  list  must  be  …  Ø Open-­‐ended  Ø Abstract  and  general  Ø Allow  for  pluralism  

 

 

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Nussbaum’s  inspiration?  

 Aristotle:    •  The  idea  of  human  Jlourishing  as  ethically  fundamental  

Marx:    •  The  notion  of  the  human  being  as  ‘in  need  of  a  totality  of  life  activities’  and  opportunities  for  such  activities  

à List  of  the  most  important  capabilities  in  human  life  

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Nussbaums  list  of  basic  capabilities  

1.  Life:  To  be  able  to  live  a  full  human  life  2.  Bodily  Health:  To  be  able  to  have  good  health,  nourishment,  shelter  3.  Bodily  Integrity:  To  be  able  to  move  freely,  security  from  assault  etc.  4.  Senses,  Imagination  &  Thought:  To  be  able  to  use  …  5.  Emotions:  To  be  able  to  have  attachments  &  a  wide  range  of  emotions  6.  Practical  Reason:  To  be  able  to  form  a  conception  of  the  good  &  plan  

one’s  own  life  7.  AfJiliation:    a.  To  be  able  to  live  with  and  towards  others    

   b.  To  be  able  to  have  the  social  bases  of  selfrespect  8.  Other  species:  To  be  able  to  live  with  animals,  plant  &  nature  9.  Play  and  recreation  10. Control  over  one’s  environment:´          

   a.  Political:  Right  to  political  participation          b.  Material:  The  right  to  hold  property  and  seek                    employment  on  equal  basis  with  others  

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The  Capability  Approach  on  Disability  

 •  A  disability  is  a  deprivation  in  terms  of  capabilities,  that  is,  a  lack  of  opportunity  to  be  or  to  do,  that  results  from  a  person’s  characteristics,  resources  and  the  environment.    

   

 

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Model  of  the  Capability  Approach  

   

 

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The  Capability  Approach  on  Disability  

 •  A  disability  is  a  deprivation  in  terms  of  capabilities,  that  is,  a  lack  of  opportunity  to  be  or  to  do,  that  results  from  a  person’s  characteristics,  resources  and  the  environment.    

•  The  difference  to  ICF  is  that  disability  is  not  a  ‘limitation  in  daily  activities’,  but  in  practical  opportunities  (Burchardt  2004,  741)  

•  Liberation  from  disability  is  about  having  opportunities  for  choices,  not  living  up  to  a  standard  of  normality.  

 

Society  should  strive  to  give  [the  disabled]  as  many  as  the  capabilities  as  possible  directly;  and  where  direct  empowerment  is  not  possible,  society  ought  to  give  her  the  capabilities  through  a  suitable  arrangement  of  guardianship  [and  care].  (Nussbaum  2006,  193)  

 

 

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The  Capability  Approach  on  Disability  

 •  We  can  now  see  disability  as  a  case  where  a  human  being  has  an  extraordinary  need  for  resources  in  order  to  get  a  minimum  threshold  with  regard  to  capabilities.    

•  Variation  in  need  is  a  pervasive  feature  of  human  life  (to  be  a  child,  to  be  pregnant,  to  be  old)  

•  That  is,  disability  is  on  a  continuum  with  being  in  grief,  aging,  being  sick,  being  pregnant  –  a  part  of  the  human  condition  

 

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Thank  you        

Further  reading:  Burchardt,  T.  (2004).  “Capabilities  &  Disability:  The  capabilities  framework  

and  the  social  model  of  disability”,  Disability  &  Society  19/7:735-­‐751.  Mitra,  S.  (2006).  ”The  Capabilities  approach  and  Disability”.  J  of  Disability  

Policy  Studies  16:  236-­‐247.  Nussbaum,  M.  (2000).  Woman  and  Human  Development:  The  Capabilities  

approach.  Nussbaum,  M.  (2006).  Frontiers  of  Justice.  Disability,  Nationality,  Species  

Membership.    Sen,  A.  (1995).  Commodities  and  Capabilities.    

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