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A Capabilities Approach to Successful Societies

Peter A. Hall

Title:
A Capabilities Approach to Successful Societies
Author(s):
Hall, Peter A.
Date:
Type:
Articles
Department:
Council for European Studies
Volume:
40
Persistent URL:
Book/Journal Title:
Perspectives on Europe
Abstract:
What creates a successful society? There is no simple answer to this question because decisions about the criteria by which success should be measured inevitably depend on normative judgments that are contestable, and real-world conditions often entail concessions on some dimensions of success to secure improvements in others. For these reasons, even the most sophisticated e"orts to address this problem, such as Amartya Sen’s impressive theory of development as freedom, can be frustratingly indeterminate. As Michèle Lamont and I argue in Successful Societies: How Institutions and Culture A!ect Health (Cambridge University Press 2009), however, this question is too important to ignore. Even when the answers are necessarily incomplete, social scientists should be asking such questions. Although there is a natural preference for more tractable subjects, the watchword of social science should not be ‘convenience’. We need to advance our understanding not only of how societies work but of how they can work better.
Subject(s):
European studies
Political science
Item views
217
Metadata:
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Suggested Citation:
Peter A. Hall, 2010, A Capabilities Approach to Successful Societies, Columbia University Academic Commons, http://hdl.handle.net/10022/AC:P:10213.

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