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Human Development &
Capability Association

Multi-Disciplinary and People-Centred

Democratic Capabilities Research: Introducing a participatory Capabilities-Based methodology

by Carmen Martinez-Vargas (University of the Free State, South Africa)

Monday, January 29th, 2018
15:00 to 16.30pm in Rome (CET)
20:00 to 21:30pm in New Delhi (IST)
9:00 to 10:30am in New York (EST)

Abstract: Participatory methodologies are grounded in a diverse set of theories and approaches, providing a wide variety of practices with significant variations. Moreover, participatory methods and methodologies, which are of interest in this project, have been drawing on a capabilities lenses in multiple development and educational interventions. Nonetheless, this capabilities research area is still under-researched and far from having reached its full potential despite its prospective frame to reconsider epistemic, methodological and operational issues.
This paper innovatively conceptualizes ‘Democratic Capabilities Research’ (DCR) developed in a Southern context as a form of participatory research, which introduces the capabilities approach, into critical participatory research movements, decolonization debates and epistemic justice issues. The paper outlines DCR as a reflexive and pedagogical space to advance more just practices, especially in the context of hierarchical knowledge practices in universities, and the marginalization of youth voices in knowledge projects. The ambition is to both, generate democratic and inclusive knowledge creation and advance social change and a decolonial methodology.

Speaker’s Bio: C. Martinez-Vargas is originally from Spain and is currently based in South Africa. She has extensive experience working with participatory research approaches within the global north and global south. Her PhD project focuses on the conceptualization and implementation of a participatory capabilities-based methodology to advance socially just higher education. Furthermore, her research interests problematizes intersections of decolonization and social justice in the context of human development.

To register and for any question about the webinar, please contact Andrea Ferrannini, Alejandra Boni and Krushil Watene:;
Details on how to participate will be sent to you a few days before the webinar. 

Organized by HDCA Thematic groups on “Participatory Methods”, “Education” and “Indigenous People”

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