Researcher ORCID Identifier

Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE)

Second Department


Reader 1

Adrienne Martin

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This paper builds on the Capability Approach to development by taking into account historical colonial systems, institutional foundations, and the degree to which marginalized groups are included in political, economic, and social forms of participation. The paper begins with a review of common approaches to development, highlighting specifically the benefits and applicability of the Capability Approach as presented by Amartya Sen and Martha C. Nussbaum in their respective works. Drawing on literature pertaining to justice, feminism, and intersectionality, I then present an expanded development framework, deemed the Capabilities Plus approach. Like in the Capability Approach, my proposed framework believes the goal of development to be the expansion of opportunities for individuals to live full and flourishing lives. Given this development objective, the paper identifies additional factors beyond the scope of Sen and Nussbaum that must be considered to understand countries’ development and promote positive life outcomes. These factors are: (1) the recognition of historical contexts and cultural variance, (2) an analysis of institutional frameworks, (3) the real freedoms and opportunities available, and (4) the advancement of marginalized people. The paper then explores why forms of societal participation and inclusion must be protected as fundamentally important capabilities particularly for those who are most marginalized. Finally, the Capabilities Plus framework is applied to the case of poor and illiterate Indian women, illuminating obstacles and solutions to promote flourishing lives among those who have faced the greatest marginalization in India.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.