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Individual freedom and institutional frameworks in development

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In this article I explore Amartya Sen’s contention that individual freedom represents both the objective of development and the means through which development is to take place. Examining the conceptualisation of freedom central to Sen’s capability approach, I distinguish between two notions of freedom, autonomy and agency, where the former describes the freedom derivative of institutional frameworks and the latter the capacity to induce institutional change. Drawing on the economist Douglass North’s theorisation of how institutions develop over time, I attempt to show that education can serve as a privileged institutional space in which to challenge the constraints that determine individual action.

Keywords: gender issues; pedagogy; sociocultural patterns; socioeconomic background; well-being

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Faculty of Education,University of Cambridge, Cambridge,UK,

Publication date: September 1, 2012

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