Original Research - Special Collection: Engaging Development

Theology and development as capability expansion

Séverine Deneulin, Augusto Zampini Davies
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 72, No 4 | a3230 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v72i4.3230 | © 2016 Séverine Deneulin, Augusto Zampini Davies | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 27 October 2015 | Published: 19 August 2016

About the author(s)

Séverine Deneulin, Department of Social and Policy Sciences, University of Bath, United Kingdom; Department of Practical Theology and Missiology, Stellenbosch University, United Kingdom
Augusto Zampini Davies, Department of Practical Theology and Missiology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa; Theological Advisor to the Catholic Agency for overseas Development, United Kingdom; Department of Theology and Religion, University of Durham, United Kingdom, United Kingdom

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For the last 25 years, human development has become part of official development discourses. It takes the normative position that the success of policies depends on whether they have expanded human flourishing, or expanded the ‘freedoms’ or ‘capabilities’ people have ‘reason to value’, as Amartya Sen would put it. It emphasises the importance of institutions to facilitate such expansion, and the agency of people to create such institutions. The ability of institutions to be conducive to human flourishing depends on the nature of human interaction. When human interaction no longer has the flourishing of other persons as its aim, it can create structures which then constrain human agency. The article argues that the human development perspective could be enriched by theological insights such as structural sin and the contribution of religious narratives to public reasoning. It concentrates on the idea of justice of one biblical parable, and illustrates its argument with examples from the Argentine labour context.


Theology and development; Human development; Amartya Sen; Ban Ki-moon


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Crossref Citations

1. Capabilities expansion for marginalised migrant youths in Johannesburg: The case of Albert Street School
Wadzanai F. Mkwananzi, Merridy Wilson-Strydom
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies  vol: 74  issue: 3  year: 2018  
doi: 10.4102/hts.v74i3.5041