The paper aims to examine Martha Nussbaum's latest theorising about the capabilities approach in relation to the “causal weight” and “texture” of the anarchical condition of the international system.
The paper provides a detailed reading of Nussbaum's creating capabilities with regard to its explicit and implicit assumptions about international relations.
While the paper endorses the aims of the capabilities approach, it draws attention to the limitations of Nussbaum's engagement with the international level of world politics, including relevant international relations (IR) theory. The paper argues that a more explicit engagement with IR theory in general and the so‐called English School in particular would strengthen one of the shortcomings of Nussbaum's counter‐theory to dominant ideas in development economics.
The Human Development and Capability Association is committed to generating ideas to challenge dominant approaches to human development. As such, the sense of direction pointed to in the paper – identifying international relations as the priority area for research and reform – is a contribution to planning the next stage of its activities.
The paper focuses on the international level of world politics, and as such offers insights into what Nussbaum herself admits is an “undertheorized” dimension of the capabilities approach.
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