Women and Human Development: The Capabilities Approach

Women and Human Development: The Capabilities Approach

by Martha C. Nussbaum
     
 

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In this major book Martha Nussbaum, one of the most innovative and influential philosophical voices of our time, proposes a kind of feminism that is genuinely international, argues for an ethical underpinning to all thought about development planning and public policy, and dramatically moves beyond the abstractions of economists and philosophers to embed thought about

Overview

In this major book Martha Nussbaum, one of the most innovative and influential philosophical voices of our time, proposes a kind of feminism that is genuinely international, argues for an ethical underpinning to all thought about development planning and public policy, and dramatically moves beyond the abstractions of economists and philosophers to embed thought about justice in the concrete reality of the struggles of poor women. Nussbaum argues that international political and economic thought must be sensitive to gender difference as a problem of justice, and that feminist thought must begin to focus on the problems of women in the third world. Taking as her point of departure the predicament of poor women in India, she shows how philosophy should undergird basic constitutional principles that should be respected and implemented by all governments, and used as a comparative measure of quality of life across nations.

Editorial Reviews

Ellen Willis
An important book. It presents a rich, nuanced argument that is both intellectually rigorous and attuned to practical dilemmas.
New York Times Book Review
From the Publisher
"Women and Human Development is an important book. It presents a rich, nuanced argument that is both intellectually rigorous and attuned to practical dilemmas." New York Times Book Review

"Women and Human Development is an important book. It presents a rich, nuanced argument that is both intellectually rigorous and attuned to practical dilemmas...eloquent." The New York Times Book Review

"Philosophically ambitious, politically daring and morally insistent, Women and Human Development hopes to shake the complacent reader into realising just how dire the conditions are under which so many women around the world try to live, work and love." London Review of Books

"Theological ethicists who believe that feminist global ethics need not be culturally relativist nor committed to a kind of abstraction that 'turns the mind away from reality' should find in Women and Human Development a stimulating argument that attends to both experience and philosophical grounding yet is open to the significant contributions of religious traditions and their scriptural interpretations. This book should stimulate interest among generalists as well as professional ethicists and scholars in philosophy and religious studies." Religious Studies Review

"This is a must-read book for international development specialists, and will greatly reward others willing to invest some effort and thought in it." Choice

"A powerfully argued proposal for a turn to 'quality of life' as privileged criterion in discerning just distribution and access to social and material goods in civil society. A vital text for studies in development, economic ethics, feminist ethics, theories of justice, human rights, women's studies." Center for Women and Religion

"This book is an important contribution to the increasing dialogue between Western and Third World feminists, and should be read by anyone interested in international development." Susan Okin, Stanford University

"The ringing defences of universalism, liberalism and human rights in the early chapters of Sex and Social Justice [Nussbaum; Oxford University Press] are expanded and revised in Women and Human Development: The Capabilities Approach." The London Review of Books

"I found myself caught up in Nussbaum's arguments, and when I taught Women and Human Development to a seminar filled with antiliberal graduate students, this book gave them a terrific challenge.... Even those who strongly disagree with liberalism and are strong supporters of cultural diversity and relativism will be forced to confront the questions Nussbaum raises and to think critically about these issues. Political philosophers can ask for nothing more." American Political Science Review

"Theological ethicists who believe that feminist global ethics need not be culturally relativist nor committed to a kind of abstraction that 'turns the mind away from reality' should find in Women and Human Development a stimulating argument that attends to both experience and philosophical grounding yet is open to the significant contributions of religious traditions and their scriptural interpretations. This book should stimulate interest among generalists as well as professional ethicists and scholars in philosophy and religious studies." Religious Studies Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781107085190
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
03/13/2000
Series:
Seeley Lectures , #3
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
2 MB

What People are saying about this

Vina Agarwal
These lucid and insightful essays effectively challenge the claim that the demand for gender justice is a Western import, unsuited to other cultures. Drawing on the specificities of women's experience in India, Martha Nessbaum makes a compelling case for defining universal gender just goals for the development of human capabilities.
—(Vina Agarwal, Delhi University)
Margarita Valdes
…An excellent example of how philosophical theory can help to clarify and understand problems faced by women in almost any society simply because of sex. The book is not an abstract feminist treaty, but an attempt to show how serious psychological discussion of concrete cases taken from the developing countries can help to reveal injustice to women and suggest political ways to abolish it. The book is written in a very attractive style, which combines great scholarship with sensitivity to create human details.
—(Margarita M. Valdes Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México)
Uma Marayan
Nussbaum uses her important capabilities approach to illuminate ongoing feminist issues in a variety of national contexts. Skillfully interweaving discussions of feminist issues from Western and Third World contexts, Nussbaum develops substantive positions on issues affecting women's relationships to families, religions, development and the state. A thought-provoking and significant contribution to thinking about feminist issues in an international context.
—(Uma Marayan, Vassar College)
Susan M. Okin
This book is an important contribution to the increasing dialogue between Western and Third World feminist, and should be read by anyone interested in international development.
—(Susan M. Okin, Stanford University)

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