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Childcare, children and capability

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Empirical research focused on women studying childcare in an English further education college found the participants strangely contented despite demanding lifestyles. They were intent on integrating their family, work and educational commitments rather than actively seeking future gain, an understanding that led to the development of an original model of integrated lives, later recast as an example of a capability set. This paper describes how Sen’s capability approach was customized to make further sense of the empirical findings, and, in particular, how common interview themes were developed into capability indicators and grouped into capability chains to enable comparison between otherwise disparate narrative accounts. The women’s biographies emphasize the importance of fostering early capability in young children and reveal how, frequently, this is overlooked. The paper argues that educational policy should accord people the freedom to choose their own lives before reiterating how the capability approach can support such choices.

Keywords: capability approach; childcare; education; student experience; women

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Education,Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge and Chelmsford,UK,

Publication date: 2012-09-01

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