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Human Development &
Capability Association

Multi-Disciplinary and People-Centred

HDCA Textbook


An Introduction to the Human Development and Capability Approach: Freedom and Agency

Edited by Severine Deneulin, Lila Shahani
Published 28th August 2009 by Routledge – 376 pages

Aimed at undergraduates and post-graduates in the social sciences, as well as development practitioners, this textbook provides an introduction to the human development and capability approach; it also clarifies key concepts and fosters debate on a number of critical issues. The book offers new perspectives on a wide range of topics, which include the conceptualisation and measurement of well-being and inequality; the role of markets and economic growth in promoting development; the importance of democracy and public debate; culture and religion; health; equality and justice; and the connections between social and economic policy in addressing poverty and inequality. Case studies from across the world are used to illustrate concepts and highlight the relevance of the approach in addressing contemporary development challenges. A set of questions accompanies each chapter for seminar discussion to help readers assimilate central points and apply the approach to diverse realities. This book provides a comprehensive introduction to the human development and capability approach for students and practitioners world-wide.

The textbook includes:

  • Case Studies
  • Group Exercises
  • Illustrative boxes
  • Pictures

Table of contents:

Introductory Note

Part I: Concepts

1. A Normative Framework for Development
2. The Human Development and Capability Approach
3. Ideas Related to Human Development

Part II: Topics

4. Economic Growth
5. Equality and Justice
6. Measurement
7. Institutions, Markets and Economic Development
8. Democracy and Political Participation
9. Education
10. Health
11. Culture and Religion

Part III: Policy

12. Public Policy Analysis
13. Policy Case Studies

Appendix 1: A Human Development Pedagogy
Appendix 2: Pictures

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