Citizenship as a human well-being capability

Munyiswa, Isaiah (2018-03)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2018.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY: The aim of this dissertation is to defend the claim that citizenship is an architectonic human well-being capability. Citizenship so conceived is a necessary condition for human flourishing. I make and defend this claim in an endeavour to bridge the theory-practice gap that exists in Sen’s and Nussbaum’s notions of capability – a gap that has led some critics to describe the capability approach as an unworkable idea. By “citizenship” I mean, firstly, the formal status of being a legally recognised member of a state, and secondly, the formal capacities and immunities connected with such status – in short, citizenship rights. My claim, then, is that being a citizen in both senses of the word is a condition for achieving various functionings and, in this way, enabling human beings to live lives they have reason to value. The conception of capabilities in Sen’s capability approach is essentially theoretical and abstract. However, the value of the capability approach as an evaluation space for human well-being ultimately depends on its translation into a practical evaluative tool accessible to both academic researchers and policy-makers. Adopting the position that citizenship is an architectonic capability operationalizes the capability approach in particular ways. Firstly, defining citizenship as a capability gives specific content to, and thus improves our theoretical understanding of, capabilities. Secondly, defining capabilities in this way makes it easier for us to develop appropriate methods for their measurement. Thirdly, this approach develops a richer concept of citizenship, according to which citizenship is not simply a legal designation, but an important condition of human flourishing. I take this dissertation to be a contribution to growing efforts that are aimed at clarifying and operationalizing the capability approach.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie proefskrif het ten doel om aan te toon dat burgerskap verstaan kan word as ‘n argitektoniese kapasiteit-vir-welstand (“well-being capability”). Hierdie siening word ontwikkel as deel van ‘n oorhoofse poging om die gaping tussen teorie en praktyk in Sen en Nussbaum se opvattings van kapasiteit (“capability”) te oorbrug – ‘n gaping wat verskeie kritici daartoe gelei het om die kapasiteitsbenadering (“capability approach”) as onwerkbaar te beskryf. Met “burgerskap” bedoel ek eerstens die formele, wetlike lidmaatskap van ‘n staat en tweedens, die kapasiteite en beskermings wat met hierdie status gepaardgaan – in kort, burgerregte. My bewering is dat om ‘n burger in albei opsigte te wees ‘n noodsaaklike voorwaarde is vir die realisering vir vorme van menslike funksionering op grond waarvan persone rede het om hul eie lewens as waardevol beskou. Sen se bekende kapasiteitsbenadering (“capability approach”) is teoreties en abstrak. Uiteindelik hang die waarde van hierdie benadering egter daarvan af of die begrip “kapasiteit” vertaal kan word in ‘n praktiese maatstaf vir die evaluering van menslike welstand vir die gebruik van navorsers en beleidmakers. Die omskrywing van burgerskap as ‘n argitektoniese kapasiteit operasionaliseer die kapasiteitsbenadering in spesifieke opsigte. Eerstens, hierdie definisie gee bepaalde inhoud aan, en verbeter dus ons teoretiese begrip van, die kategorie: kapasiteit. Tweedens maak hierdie definisie van kapasiteit maak dit makliker om toepaslike metodes vir die meting van menslike welsyn te ontwikkel. Derdens lei hierdie benadering tot ‘n meer omvangryke opvatting van burgerskap, waarvolgens burgerskap nie bloot ‘n regstatus is nie, maar ‘n belangrike voorwaarde vir menslike florering. In al drie opsigte lewer hierdie proefskrif ‘n bydrae tot die groeiende pogings om die kapasiteitsbenadering tot menslike welstand te verhelder en te operasionaliseer.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/103419
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