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Advancing Human DevelopmentTheory and Practice$
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Frances Stewart, Gustav Ranis, and Emma Samman

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198794455

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198794455.001.0001

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Capabilities and Human Development

Capabilities and Human Development

Beyond the Individual—The Critical Role of Social Institutions and Social Capabilities

(p.158) 7 Capabilities and Human Development
Advancing Human Development

Frances Stewart

Gustav Ranis

Emma Samman

Oxford University Press

This chapter analyses the role of social institutions in advancing human development and capabilities. Social interactions are a quintessential part of human life, and their quantity and quality determine a person’s social or relational capabilities, which are an important dimension of human development. In addition, institutions and social capabilities are shown to play a critical role in advancing capabilities generally and shaping individual choice. They are therefore an important, and often neglected, influence over human development. As well as their instrumental role in enhancing capabilities, social institutions help shape individual preferences and behaviour so that individuals cannot be assumed to be fully autonomous in decisions about the nature of the lives they live. The chapter analyses the concept of social cohesion, as an important condition affecting human development. It concludes by analysing some policy implications arising from this analysis aimed at promoting well-functioning social institutions likely to advance human development.

Keywords:   social institutions, norms, capabilities, human development, civil society, communities, NGOs, social cohesion

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