Item description for Women and Human Development: The Capabilities Approach by Martha Craven Nussbaum...
Proposing a new kind of feminism that is genuinely international, Martha Nussbaum 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. In this book, 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. Nussbaum concludes by calling for a new international focus to feminism, and shows through concrete detail how philosophical arguments about justice really do connect with the practical concerns of public policy. HB ISBN (2000): 0-521-66086-6
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Studio: Cambridge University Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.03" Width: 6.01" Height: 0.82" Weight: 1 lbs.
Release Date Jun 4, 2001
Publisher Cambridge University Press
ISBN 0521003857 ISBN13 9780521003858
Reviews - What do customers think about Women and Human Development?
Read this book Dec 13, 2003
Nussbaum's book is excellent reading for those with little background in philosophy or economics. She explains her important ideas about the goals of development very clearly. The point of development is to permit people to achieve a fully human functioning. What she writes might strike many readers as, well, just common sense.
But this is far from the case. Nussbaum's claim that the point of development is to help people achieve a fully human functioning is actually very foreign to most standard theories of economics and economic development.
Readers with a good background in economics and/or philosophy will find her book quite impressive. In fact the more you know about the relevant subjects the more you can see how good, original, and important her ideas are. She adroitly deals with many of the flaws of standard economics to present a thoughtful alternative vision of what it means to be developed.
She also addresses long-standing debates involving those for--and against--postmodernist thought. She sneaks this in so that it is easy for many readers to miss that she is doing this. Although she accepts many of the charges made by postmodernists against modernist thinking, she explicitly rejects the pure egoistic subjectivity offered by postmodernism. Stated crudely, what Nussbaum offers is a dignified vision of what humans should be without invoking God or "objective reality."
Really good stuff. I've used this book for college undergraduates and many have praised this book highly and many had said they had their eyes opened to important issues they didn't think about before.
Debating Development Jun 28, 2000
Those who have read Nussbaum's other books and essays on women, development and political theory will find here a carefully argued, contextually sensitive and principled approach to questions of global justice and human flourishing. Drawing on the work of Nobel laureate Amartya Sen (source of "the capabilities approach") and her own Aristotelian social philosophy, Nussbaum takes a hard look at key debates about development, rejecting both free market fundamentalism and underexamined cultural relativism. Her universalist stance is controversial but courageous, a sincere effort to think through a political ethic in the wake of globalization. Not everyone will agree with Nussbaum, but she asks the right questions and lays out positions to be argued with.
Kipling with Marx in hand Apr 20, 2000
For anyone who has read Nussbaum's books on political issues, her latest is more of the same: the West has a moral obligation to rectify various wrongs suffered by women due to cultural/religious belief systems. All of this would be fascinating if Nussbaum would bother to first provide an argument stating why her thick conception of the Good must take precedence over those she dismisses out of hand. The irony here is that many of the things she points to as evil are the same things the British thought necessary to abolish when India was treated as a colony. Why, then, was imperialism bad then but perfectly okay now that self-styled leftists like comrade Nussbaum have decided its time their global vision of world socialism be forced on these other cultures? The problem for Nussbaum is that whatever hybrid version of political liberalism she wants to ascribe to has to be argued for -- it cannot simply be assumed. For instance, for Nussbaum the treatment of a woman in an islamic society might seem at odds with a Kantian notion of moral autonomy and the dignity of treating persons as ends in themselves. Consequently,if one adopts such a view of the moral life (and this ought to be argued for first), then such societies may seem morally undeveloped and thus harmful to their members. However, to a muslim observing the amount of autonomy people have in the West, the fact that our children are allowed certain kinds of entertainments, that women are displayed in advertisments in various stages of undress may indicate to them an equally appalling level of harm we allow our children and women to endure. In the end, the arguments go deeper than what Nussbaum provides since they go to questions concerning human nature, the Good, the status of Natural Rights, the role of Reason in ethical theories, and whether a teleological or deontological theory of morality best accords with the true nature of the good. These seem to be the questions most of Nussbaum's 'applied theory' begs.