By Mario Biggeri, Jérôme Ballet, Flavio Comim (eds.)

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Extra info for Children and the Capability Approach

Sample text

This first point of view is nevertheless fairly reductionist, since the CA is reduced to investigating bare achievements. According to the second point of view, the question of self-determination should not be addressed over the whole life cycle (but rather at an immature point in the life cycle), so that what actually needs to be taken into account is the autonomy adults acquire during childhood. Saito (2003: 26) interprets the CA along these lines. She argues that “when dealing with children, it is the freedom they will have in the future rather than the present that should be considered.

The usual definitions are not usually centred on children, but tend to mimic adults’ definitions, and downplay the gender issues. A new definition of children’s activities based on the CA is proposed. This conceptual framework reveals shortcomings of the standard definitions and may reduce misconceived policy implications. In Chapter 14, JungA Uhm, Ferdinand Lewis and Tridib Banerjee present a theoretical exploration of children’s environmental capabilities by incorporating Kevin Lynch’s ideas about the structure of a “good city” into the current discourse on Amartya Sen’s Capability Theory.

Does the CA complement other approaches? Does it promote children’s rights? The chapter is then structured as follows. In the second section, we investigate the self-determination hypothesis used by the CA, which also applies to liberal theories of justice. Of course the question of self-determination must be softened for children, but not abandoned. However, as the issue of choices is central in the CA, it naturally opens up the question of its applicability to children. In the third section, we recognize children as actors and we draw lessons for the CA.

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