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Centre of Development Studies

 

The Centre of Development Studies is delighted to report that Fadi Amer's dissertation (MPhil 2019-20) has been published and is available to read at https://www.berghahnjournals.com/view/journals/theoria/68/166/th6816604.xml?ArticleBodyColorStyles=pdf-4247. Fadi won the Centre of Development Studies' Dissertation Prize for the highest mark overall in the dissertation assessment for 2019-20 and we offer many congratulations on his publication.

Title: Sen's Conceptions of Freedom, and a Conjecture on Embodiment

Abstract: This article explores Amartya Sen’s understanding of freedom, and performs two central functions, one classificatory and the other substantive in nature. First, I situate his reflections within canonical understandings of liberty, finding an irreducible pluralism incorporating positive liberty in ‘capability’ alongside negative and republican liberty in ‘process’, which is subsequently unified in the notion of ‘comprehensive outcomes’. Secondly, I attempt to find a normative referent for the intrinsic value of choice, and thereby indirectly that of freedom, in his account. In contrast to the liberal subjectivity one might – I believe, mistakenly – attribute to Sen’s deployment of neoclassical economic frameworks, I instead argue for a re-interpretation of his account, inspired by the sociological literature on embodiment. Here, an ‘encumbered’ subject must inherit and transcend a normative totality to become an agent in the fullest sense.

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