Education, Youth and Migration from a Capability Lens

  • Faith Mkwananzi


This chapter provides a detailed discussion on the contribution of the capability approach (CA) in researching education, youth and migration. In doing so, Mkwananzi displays the comprehensive nature of the framework in looking at complex and multidimensional phenomena such as migration, cutting across and beyond social, political, cultural and economic contexts. In addition to acknowledging the complex nature of migration, Mkwananzi illustrates that migration is an integral part of human development. Interconnections between CA and migration show how the two relate to each other and are clearly articulated. Discussed in detail is also the importance of education in human development, as it forms people’s existing capacities into developed capabilities and expands human freedoms.


  1. Appadurai, A. (1996). Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  2. Appadurai, A. (2004). The Capacity to Aspire. In M. Walton & V. Rao (Eds.), Culture and Public Action (pp. 59–84). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Bandura, A. (2001). Social Cognitive Theory: An Agent Perspective. Annual Review of Psychology, 52, 1–26 (Palo Alto, CA, Annual Reviews Inc.).Google Scholar
  4. Bell, A. S., Rajendran, D., & Theiler, S. (2012). Job Stress, Wellbeing and Work-Life Balance of Academics. Electronic Journal of Applied Psychology, 8(1), 25–37.Google Scholar
  5. Boni, A., & Walker, M. (2013). Higher Education and Human Development: Towards the Public and Social Good. In A. Boni & M. Walker (Eds.), Human Development and Capabilities. Re-imagining the University of the Twenty-First Century (pp. 15–29). London and New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  6. Burchardt, T. (2005). Are One Man’s Rags Another Man’s Riches? Identifying Adaptive Expectations Using Panel Data. Social Indicators Research, 74(1), 57–102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Camfield, L., Masae, A., McGregor, A., & Promphaking, B. (2012). Culture of Aspiration and Poverty? Aspirational Inequalities in Northeast and Southern Thailand (International Development Working Paper 38). University of East Anglia.Google Scholar
  8. Collins, L. (2007). Helping Immigrant Youth Reach Their Potential Through Successful Transitioning into Adult Learning. Bow Valley College. Retrieved from Accessed 14 May 2015.
  9. Conradie, I. (2013). Aspirations and Capabilities: The Design and Analysis of an Action Research Project in Khayelitsha, Cape Town (PhD thesis). University of the Western Cape. Retrieved from Accessed 15 May 2014.
  10. Conradie, I., & Robeyns, I. (2013). Aspirations and Human Development Interventions. Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, 14(4), 559–580. Scholar
  11. Crocker, D. (2009). Ethics of Global Development: Agency, Capability, and Deliberative Democracy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Crush, J., & Frayne, B. (Eds.). (2010). Surviving on the Move: Migration, Poverty, and Development in Southern Africa. Cape Town: Logo Print.Google Scholar
  13. De Haas, H. (2007). The Myth of Invasion: Irregular Migration from West Africa to the Maghreb and the European Union. Oxford: International Migration Institute.Google Scholar
  14. De Haas, H. (2008). Migration and Development: A Theoretical Perspective (IMI Working Paper 9). Oxford: International Migration Institute.Google Scholar
  15. De Haas, H. (2009). The Myth of Invasion: The Inconvenient Realities of African Migration to Europe. In R. Munck (Ed.), Globalization and Migration: New Issues, New Politics (pp. 77–94). London and New York: Routledge Taylor and Francis Group.Google Scholar
  16. De Haas, H., & Rodriquez, F. (2010). Mobility and Human Development: Introduction. Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, 11(2), 177–184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. DeJaeghere, J. (2016). Girls’ Educational Aspirations and Agency: Imagining Alternative Futures Through Schooling in a Low-Resourced Tanzanian Community. Critical Studies in Education, 59(2), 237–255.
  18. Dolan, P., Layard, R., & Metcalfe, R. (2011). Measuring Subjective Well-Being for Public Policy: Recommendations on Measures (Special Paper No. 23). Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics and Political Science. Retrieved from Accessed 2 September 2016.
  19. Dubois, J.-L., & Rousseau, S. (2008). Reinforcing Household’s Capabilities as a Way to Reduce Vulnerability an Prevent Poverty in Equitable Terms. In F. Comim, M. Qizilbash, & S. Alkire (Eds.), The Capability Approach: Concepts, Measures and Applications (pp. 421–436). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Dubois J.-L., & Trani, J. (2009). Extending the Capability Paradigm to Address the Complexity of Disability. ALTER-European Journal of Disability Research, 3(3): 192–218. Retrieved from Accessed 6 February 2017.
  21. Fargues, P. & Bofanti, S. (2014). When the Best Option Is a Leaky Boat: Why Migrants Risk Their Lives Crossing the Mediterranean and What Europe Is Doing About It. Migration Policy Centre Policy Brief, European University Institute.Google Scholar
  22. Gasper, D. (2002). Is Sen’s Capability Approach an Adequate Basis for Considering Human Development? Review of Political Economy, 14(4), 435–461. Scholar
  23. Gasper, D., & Truong, T. D. (2010). Development Ethics Through the Lenses of Caring, Gender and Human Security. In S. Esquith & F. Gifford (Eds.), Capabilities, Power and Institutions: Towards a More Critical Development Ethics (pp. 58–95). Pittsburgh: Pennsylvania State University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Hart, C. (2008, September 9–13). What Can Young People Tell Us About Promoting Equality and Inclusion Through Widening Participation in Higher Education in England? Paper presented at the Human Development and Capability Association International Conference, New Delhi, India.Google Scholar
  25. Hart, C. J. (2013). Aspirations, Education and Social Justice: Applying Sen and Bourdieu. London and New York: Bloomsbury.Google Scholar
  26. Human Development Report (HDR). (1990). Retrieved from Accessed 11 February 2013.
  27. Kabeer, N. (1999). Resources, Agency, Achievements: Reflections on the Measurement of Women’s Empowerment. Development and Change, 30, 435–464.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Kelly, J. M. (2005). The Responses of Educational System to the Needs of Orphans and Children Affected by HIV/AIDS. In G. Foster, C. Levine, & J. Williamson (Eds.), A Generation at Risk: The Impact of HIV/AIDS on Orphans and Vulnerable Children. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Lopez-Fogues, A. (2014). The Shades of Employability: A Capability Study of VET Students’ Freedoms and Oppressions in Spain. Social Work and Society, 12(2). Retrieved from: Accessed 6 May 2015.
  30. Mason, J. (2002). Qualitative Interviewing: Asking, Listening and Interpreting. In T. May (Ed.), Qualitative Research in Action (pp. 225–243). London: Sage.Google Scholar
  31. Nussbaum, M. (1997). Cultivating Humanity: A Classical Defence of Reform in Liberal Education. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  32. Nussbaum, M. (2000). Women and Human Development. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Nussbaum, M. (2011). Creating Capabilities: The Human Development Approach. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Nussbaum, M. (2016). Introduction: Aspiration and the Capabilities List. Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, 17(3), 301–308. Scholar
  35. Parker, S., Stratton, G., Gale, T., Rodd, P., & Sealey, T. (2013). Higher Education and Student Aspirations: A Survey of the Adaptive Preferences of Year 9 Students in Corio, Victoria. Victoria, Australia: Centre for Research in Educational Futures and Innovation (CREFI), Deakin University.Google Scholar
  36. Ray, D. (2006). Aspirations, Poverty, and Economic Change. In A. V. Banerjee, R. Benabo, & D. Mookherjee (Eds.), Understanding Poverty (pp. 409–421). Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Risso-Brandon, F., & Pasquier-Doumer, L. (2015). Aspiration Failure: A Poverty Trap for Indigenous Children in Peru? Retrieved from Accessed 10 August 2018.
  38. Robeyns, I. (2003). Sen’s Capability Approach and Gender Inequality: Selecting Relevant Capabilities. Feminist Economics, 9(2–3), 61–92. Scholar
  39. Robeyns, I. (2011). The Capability Approach. Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy. Retrieved from Accessed 3 September 2014.
  40. Robeyns, I. (2017). Wellbeing, Freedom and Social Justice: The Capability Approach Re-examined. Cambridge: Open Book Publishers.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Sen, A. (1985). Commodities and Capabilities. Amsterdam: North Holland.Google Scholar
  42. Sen, A. (1992). Inequality Re-examined. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  43. Sen, A. (1999). Development as Freedom. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  44. Sen, A. (2005). Human Rights and Capabilities. Journal of Human Development, 6, 151–166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Sen, A. (2009). The Idea of Justice. London: Penguin.Google Scholar
  46. Smith, C. L., & Clay, P. M. (2010). Measuring Subjective and Objective Well-Being: Analyses from Five Marine Commercial Fisheries. Human Organization, 69, 158–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Stern, M. J., & Seifert, S. C. (2013). Creative Capabilities and Community Capacity. In H. U. Otto & H. Ziegler (Eds.), Enhancing Capabilities: The Role of Social Institutions. Berlin and Toronto: Barbara Budrich Publishers.Google Scholar
  48. United Nations. (2000). United Nations Millennium Declaration. Retrieved from Accessed 8 September 2018.
  49. Unterhalter, E. (2002). The Capabilities Approach and Gendered Education: An Examination of South African Complexities. Theory and Research in Education, 1, 7–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Unterhalter, E. (2009). Translations and Transversal Dialogues: An Examination of Mobilities Associated with Gender, Education and Global Poverty Reduction. Comparative Education, 45(3), 329–345.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Walker, M. (2005). Amartya Sen’s Capability Approach and Education. Education Action Research, 13(1), 103–110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Walker, M. (2006). Higher Education Pedagogies: A Capabilities Approach. Maidenhead: Open University Press and the Society for Research into Higher Education.Google Scholar
  53. Walker, M., & Unterhalter, E. (2007). The Capability Approach: Its Potential to Work in Education. In M. Walker & E. Unterhalter (Eds.), Amartya Sen’s Capability Approach and Social Justice in Education (pp. 1–18). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Watts, M. (2009). Sen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: Adaptive Preferences and Higher Education. Studies in Philosophy and Education, 28, 425–436.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Wilson-Strydom, M. (2015). University Access and Theories of Social Justice: Contributions of the Capabilities Approach. Higher Education, 69(1), 143–155. Scholar
  56. Wilson-Strydom, M., & Walker, M. (2015). A Capabilities-Friendly Conceptualisation of Flourishing in and Through Education. Journal of Moral Education, 44(3), 310–324. Scholar
  57. Wolff, J., & De-Shalit, A. (2007). Disadvantage. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. World Migration Report. (2013). Migrant Well-Being and Development. Geneva: International Organisation for Migration (IOM).Google Scholar
  59. Zeus, B. (2009). Exploring Paradoxes Around Higher Education in Protracted Refugee Situations: The Case of Burmese Refugees in Thailand (MA thesis). Institute of Education, University of London.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Faith Mkwananzi
    • 1
  1. 1.Higher Education and Human Development Research GroupUniversity of the Free StateBloemfonteinSouth Africa

Personalised recommendations