The control over one’s environment as a collective capability: the case of anti-fujimorista movement in peru

Santibañez García, Carlos Alonso (2018). 'The control over one’s environment as a collective capability: the case of anti-fujimorista movement in Peru' Paper presented at the annual conference of the HDCA, Buenos Aires, Argentina 2018.


This research is a master’s thesis that analyzes the control over one’s environment (one of the ten capabilities Nussbaum proposes) as a collective capability through a Peruvian study case.  We study the capabilities of the members of the anti-fujimorista movement, a political movement born during the elections of 2011. This movement, despite of being a recent one, has had a strong presence and influence in the presidential elections of 2011 and 2016, and in other specific political episodes between them.

For that purpose, the theoretical framework has two main parts: the one related to the collective capability, and the one related to political movements. We first review the literature about collective capabilities thoroughly, exposing the common points among the authors and their differences. Over this, the author groups the definitions and conceptualizations in three perspectives: collective capabilities as shared values (Evans, 2002; Pereira, 2006; Deneulin, 2008; Ali Tripp, 2010; Kabeer & Sulaiman, 2015; Hall, 2016), as collective action (Ibrahim, 2006, 2013,2017; Ballet et al, 2007; Pelenc et al, 2017; Godfrey & Mamani, 2017), and as collective functionings (Sen, 2002; Michael Murphy, 2006).

To complete the theoretical framework, we analyze the capability of control over one’s environment, specifically the political one, proposed by Nussbaum (2011). In this part, we recognize the collective dimension of this capability by analyzing how the power becomes on a capability itself when it arises from the political organization and communication processes (Patron, 2014). On this point we expose some related elements of the discussion like collective freedom and agency (Crocker 2007, 2016).

The second part helps us to identify a political movement, its characteristics and its elements (Mellucci, 1976; Castells, 2013). Following the work of Francis Stewart (2005), we emphasize the role of the identity in the engagement of the people in political movements, so we center the analyze in the communicational process that takes to the collective action (Castells 2013, 24)

Over this literature, we have designed semi-structured interviews for a group of activist of the anti-fujimorista movement who participated in the activities of 2016. The questions are divided in three, to aboard the three perspectives of the collective capabilities. On the research, we share the results of the interviews: how the collective capability was developed, which were its functionings, how the activists value them, if they think they achieved their goals, etc. Also, it shows how each of the three perspectives of the collective capability is useful to examine different elements of the capability: the communication process of its generation, the collective achievements and the functionings.

Finally, this research has been useful to approach the human development concepts to the political fields. Even though the book of Sen & Dréze (2013) have connected human development and political participation, there is still a long way to develop this approach. 

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