The core concepts of CA
In the theoretical framework of CA, well-being is constituted by a person’s unique way of functioning and capabilities. This means that a person's well-being is personal and involves freedom of choice which in turn means they have a number of options. Although many people may have the same resources, it is of importance to study how these resources are converted into how they function. Thus, wellbeing is about the person's freedom to achieve in general and the capabilities to function in particular (Sen, 1995).
Strength of the capability approach
The capability approach is a useful tool for matching objective evaluations with subjective metrics. Furthermore, although one’s individual abilities are in focus, contextual factors, and subjective perceptions and experiences, are taken into consideration.
Critiques against the CA
The capability approach has been criticized for being too individual-centered and not taking sufficient account to social structures in society. It is difficult to know what a person would choose to do if other options were available. Therefore, to operationalize abilities involves uncertainties.
Horizons for Comparative and Integrative Research on Ageing and Health, 7-9 october, Stockholm