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Human Development &
Capability Association

Agency, Well-Being and Justice

Using the Capability Approach to Conceptualise Wellbeing

18:30 – 20.00 BST (GMT +1) (19.30 – 21.00 CEST/GMT +2)

The capability approach is one of the many different frameworks that can be used to conceptualise well-being. This seminar will address the following questions: How does one use the capability approach to conceptualise wellbeing? What are the advantages and disadvantages of using the capability approach to conceptualise well-being? For which purposes is this an appropriate framework, and in which contexts should one consider using another framework? What are the consequences for the deeply inter- and multidisciplinary nature of the capability approach to its conceptualisation of wellbeing? And finally, what are some points of attention to keep in mind if one wants to use this framework not just for conceptualising well-being, but also for empirical research and policy making?

Ingrid Robeyns (Prof. dr.) is a political philosopher and economist working primarily on issues in theories of justice, the ethics of institutions and applied ethics. She holds the chair in Ethics of Institutions at The Ethics Institute at Utrecht University (the Netherlands), and directs The Fair Limits Project – funded through an ERC Consolidator Grant – which examines the distributive justice and moral permissibility of having too much personal valuable goods, and how a distributive rule should include an upper limit. Broadly, her research also includes the capability approach, social justice, institutional change in law and policy, gender studies, the ethics of autism and basic income. Her most recent book titled 'Wellbeing, Freedom and Social Justice: The Capability Approach Re-examined' (2017) is free to download from Open Book Publishers. Ingrid Robeyns served as the 8th president (2018-2020) of The Human Development and Capability Association and is elected (for life) as a member of the Netherlands Royal Academy (KNAW). She actively holds several editorial roles, as associate editor of the Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Basic Income Studies and is member of the editorial board of Economics and Philosophy.


2021 Webinar Series:
Multidimensional Well-Being: Concepts, Measurement, & Application
April – July 2021

The webinar series brings together and into conversation established scholars, junior researchers, and practitioners working to conceptualise, measure, and improve multidimensional well-being. It addresses and allows for discussion regarding both long-standing and contemporary issues regarding the conceptualization and measurement of well-being, with a special focus on applications related to the Capability Approach.

General themes running through the series include concepts of well-being, philosophies of well-being measurement, methodological issues including formal procedures for multidimensional measurement, the role of participation and deliberation, empirical applications and challenges, policy uses and implications, and current research frontiers.

The series is hosted by a group of junior HDCA scholars and aims at providing a forum for exchanges and discussions between junior and senior researchers and practitioners, and in combining their competencies. All are welcome.
For the full webinar schedule, updates, and to register, please visit our website by clicking here.

Upcoming Webinar Series Themes

1. Democratising Measurement: A Case Study from Well-Being Public Policy
Anna Alexandrova & Mark Fabian
6th April, Tuesday, 11am – 12.30pm BST (GMT +1)
2. Using the Capability Approach to Conceptualise Well-Being
Ingrid Robeyns
19th April, Monday, 6.30pm – 8.00pm BST (GMT +1)
3. Methodological Options and Challenges for Measuring Multidimensional Well-Being*

4. Participatory Approaches to Well-Being Measurement*

5. The Development and Application of Multidimensional Well-being Measures*

6. Multidimensional Well-Being Measures as Policy-Instruments*

7. Limitations and Frontiers: Concepts, Measures, and Applications*

* Presenter and event details TBC.

Questions/Suggestions? Contact the organizing committee:

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