Religion and the capability approach

Severine Deneulin, Augusto Zampini Davies

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter or section


The chapter reviews how Sen and Nussbaum’s works have incorporated religion in the capability approach through religious narratives and teachings, and furthers this engagement by exploring the contribution of specific religious narratives and teachings to public reasoning and capability expansion. It does so in reference to the Catholic tradition and the global socio-ecological crisis. The chapter is divided in three sections. The first section overviews how religion has been addressed in the capability approach literature. It explains why religious narratives and teachings influence what ‘people have reason to choose and value’, hence contributing to capability expansion. The second section introduces the relational anthropological dimension of the capability approach. It discusses how the Christian narrative of the parable of The Sower can enhance its universal reach and expand its notion of relationships. The third section highlights the connection between individual choices and social structures, as well as the need for motivational attitudes for transforming and removing injustices. It does so through the religious contribution of the latest social teaching of the Catholic tradition, the papal encyclical Laudato Si’: On the Care of our Common Home.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationA Handbook of the Capability Approach
EditorsSiddiq Osmani, Mozaffar Qizilbash, Enrica Chiappero-Martinetti
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
Publication statusAcceptance date - 22 May 2018


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