Constructing new policy narratives:the capability approach as normative language


Deneulin, S., 2014. Constructing new policy narratives:the capability approach as normative language. In: Cornia, G. A. and Stewart, F., eds. Towards Human Development. Oxford University Press.

Related documents:

PDF (deneulin_CAlanguage_OPUS) - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (101kB) | Preview

    Related URLs:


    This paper interprets the capability approach as a new normative language for policy. It argues that it is characterised by some fundamental words – wellbeing, functionings, capabilities, agency, freedom– but speakers/ social actors are left free to combine these words in multiple ways, interpret them according to different policy settings, and construct context-dependent policy narratives. The paper highlights two areas of interpretative differences: namely the purpose of the normative language and its conception of the person. It illustrates how the capability approach language is interpreted differently according to various policy settings and used to construct different normative policy narratives. The paper argues that this plurality of interpretations is one of the capability approach’s greatest strengths, and the main reason for which it is, to date, the most encompassing and compelling normative language with which to frame social action for improving people’s lives. This openness to interpretative differences may however sometimes be a liability.


    Item Type Book Sections
    CreatorsDeneulin, S.
    EditorsCornia, G. A.and Stewart, F.
    Related URLs
    URLURL Type
    DepartmentsFaculty of Humanities & Social Sciences > Social & Policy Sciences
    Research CentresCentre for Development Studies
    Publisher Statementdeneulin_CAlanguage_OPUS.pdf: Reproduced by permission of Oxford University Press
    ID Code31885


    Actions (login required)

    View Item

    Document Downloads

    More statistics for this item...