Theology and development as capability expansion

Deneulin, Severine ; Davies, Augusto Zampini (2016)

CITATION: Deneulin, S. & Davies, A. Z. 2016. Theology and development as capability expansion. HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies, 72(4):1-9, doi:10.4102/hts.v72i4.3230.

The original publication is available at http://www.hts.org.za

Publication of this article was funded by the Stellenbosch University Open Access Fund.

Article

For the last 25 years, human development has become part of official development discourses. It takes the normative position that the success of policies depends on whether they have expanded human flourishing, or expanded the ‘freedoms’ or ‘capabilities’ people have ‘reason to value’, as Amartya Sen would put it. It emphasises the importance of institutions to facilitate such expansion, and the agency of people to create such institutions. The ability of institutions to be conducive to human flourishing depends on the nature of human interaction. When human interaction no longer has the flourishing of other persons as its aim, it can create structures which then constrain human agency. The article argues that the human development perspective could be enriched by theological insights such as structural sin and the contribution of religious narratives to public reasoning. It concentrates on the idea of justice of one biblical parable, and illustrates its argument with examples from the Argentine labour context.

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