• Barbara BUCKI PhD in Social Sciences and PhD in Psychology, Research Unit INSIDE, University of Luxembourg, EA4360 APEMAC, University of Lorraine, University Paris Descartes, Metz, France


Capability approach, Health, Quality of life


Understanding health is a major issue for humanities and social sciences. As its traditional definition dates back to 1948, there is a need to rethink this concept. The capability approach questions what people are actually able to do and be given their real opportunities. In the domain of health, researchers in health ethics and health economics have begun to take a capability approach to study the capacity to make informed choices, or to find broader indicators for the economic evaluation of health interventions. Finally, the recent « Health Capability Paradigm » (Ruger 2010) draws on the philosophical, political and economic theories which have attempted to uncover the dimensions which underlie the capability to achieve a state of optimal health. Paradoxically, despite the undeniable importance of this concept, no research has enabled its operationalization. Our aims are to present the capability approach by describing its general principles, describe a selection of studies based on this approach in the domain of health, analyse Ruger?s Health Capability Paradigm and suggest possible research perspectives to this paradigm.


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