The ‘Capabilities Approach’ to Geography Education

  • Richard Bustin


The capabilities approach has been used in welfare economics to express ‘freedoms’ that people have to live lives in the ways they choose, and how this measure of individual freedom is an alternative to more tangible measures such as wealth. Some writers have tried to ‘define’ a list of universal capabilities whilst developing capability theories. When applied to curriculum thinking, the capabilities approach expresses the ways education can enable in young people the ‘capabilities’ to lead meaningful lives, and to make informed choices in life, rather than seeing the success of education by instrumental measures such as exam grades. Lists of educational capabilities for various subject areas have emerged. ‘GeoCapabilities’ expresses the role the powerful knowledge of geography plays in affording young people ‘capabilities’ through their education. Examples of what this actually looks like in schools are illustrated through vignettes of powerful knowledge in the geography classroom.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Bustin
    • 1
  1. 1.Worcester ParkUK

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