Structure of the second debate:
· 1st speaker FOR (7 min); Allister McGregor
· 1st speaker CON (7 min); Neil McCulloch
· 2nd speaker FOR (7 min); Michaela Williams (MA Pov)
· 2nd speaker CON (7 min); Anna Szramkowska (MA Glob)
· Philosopher (10 min); (PHD Student) (TBC)
· 1st speaker CON rebuttal (3 min); Neil McCulloch
· 1st speaker FOR rebuttal (3 min); Allister McGregor
· Audience/panel discussion (40 min)
· Conclusions from the chair (6 min); Robert Nurick
All MA and PHD students from other departments of the University of Sussex are welcome to participate in the discussion.
The capability approach constitutes a significant contribution to social theory but its potential is diminished by its insufficient treatment of the social construction of meaning. Social meanings enable people to make value judgements about what they will do and be, and also to evaluate how satisfied they are about what they are able to achieve. From this viewpoint, a person’s state of wellbeing must be understood as being socially and psychologically co-constituted in specific social and cultural contexts. In this light, the telos of ‘living well’ which is at the heart of Sen’s version of the capability approach is inadequate and must be modified to a telos of ‘living well together’ which includes consideration of the social structures and institutions which enable people to pursue individual freedoms in relation to others. The policy significance of the capability approach can be further strengthened by paying greater consideration to the political economy of policy decision-making processes and the ways in which conflicts and distri- butions of power are institutionalized.