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Children’s Valued Capabilities

Chapter

Abstract

This chapter considers the perceptions that children themselves hold 1 regarding the relevance of education for their own well-being. The human development of children can be regarded as “an expansion of capabilities” or of “positive freedoms.” Capabilities, choices, and conditions during childhood and adolescence crucially affect children’s position and capabilities as adults. Deficiencies in important capabilities during childhood not only reduce the well-being of those suffering from the deficiencies, but may also have larger societal implications. Results from field studies carried out in Italy, India, and Uganda, which located children at the center of a bottom-up strategy for understanding the relevant dimensions of children’s well-being, are reported. In relation to democratic dialogue about selecting capabilities, it is argued that children are capable of understanding and contributing thoughtful opinions. The overall concern is to demonstrate what children think they should be able to do and be, that is, their valued capabilities. It considers that an operationalization of the capability approach has to deal with the issue of defining a list of relevant capabilities, although this need not have a universal character.

Keywords

Economic Hardship Capability Approach Street Child Important Capability Positive Freedom 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Melanie Walker and Elaine Unterhalter 2007

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