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Alejandra Boni; Alexandre Apsan-Frediani


There is a growing amount of work applying qualitative methods for capability research, with the objective of increasing the participation of 'respondents' in the production of knowledge. As Ibrahim (2014:13) points out, the generation of new qualitative data helps to capture the opportunity and freedom dimensions of human capabilities, and allows one to explore why people value certain capabilities and not others, and why they fail or succeed in achieving them. Among other questions, these methods can enrich our knowledge of which capabilities are valued, why certain choices are made, how capabilities are achieved and the role policy interventions can play in enhancing and generating capabilities, especially for vulnerable and margin-alized groups (ibid.).

In this chapter we want to go a step further and illustrate how participatory approaches in research can contribute towards investigating the kind of questions referred to by Ibrahim and, at the same time, expand the capabilities and agency of research participants. By drawing on the literature on participatory action research (PAR), this chapter explores the various ways that processes and outputs from capability research can be founded on notions of knowledge co-production and can instigate social change.

Year of publication 2021