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The Capability Approach: Insights for a New Poverty Focus

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 December 2011

Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, London School of Economics and Political Science, Houghton Street, London WC2A 2AE email:


The concepts of poverty, social exclusion and deprivation are widely employed but often problematic. This paper discusses some problems with prominent interpretations of these concepts and how Amartya Sen's capability approach can provide a conceptual framework that can overcome these problems. It is argued that the capability approach can reflect the many ways that human lives are blighted and that it thus offers a promising framework for poverty analysis. Six insights for poverty analysis provided by the capability approach are discussed.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2011

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