Call for Papers for a session on                                                                          “Capability Approach and Social Network Analysis”

at the XXXIII. Sunbelt Conference, May 21 – 26, 2013 in Hamburg, Germany

Session organizers:
Ortrud Leßmann,
Wenzel Matiaske,
Helmut-Schmidt-Universität Hamburg

The Capability Approach (CA), developed by Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum, is one of the leading paradigms for the analysis of a person’s well-being.  The paradigm has served as a basis for studies on a wide variety of issues in a broad range of disciplines as well as in interdisciplinary research. The CA is also increasingly being used by policy makers.
The CA defines a person’s well-being in terms of the beings and doings (the functionings) a person achieves and her capability to choose among different combinations of such functionings.  Achieving functionings depend on the one hand on a person’s resources and on the other hand on her “conversion factors”.  This term covers a wide range of factors that govern how a person can use her resources.  Usually three types of conversion factors are distinguished: 1) personal conversion factors such as individual skills and (bodily) characteristics, 2) social conversion factors, in particular social norms and social institutions such as access to health care and 3) environmental factors such as climate and geography.  The conversion factors capture the embeddedness of the person in her social environment.
Though the CA focuses on individual well-being, there is an ongoing discourse concerning the role of collectives. The terms “collective”, “relational” and “external capabilities” have been proposed to capture the idea that some opportunities do not only occur due to the collaboration of people but are also enjoyed jointly.
By seeing persons as embedded in their social environment and highlighting the interdependency between people in achieving and enjoying well-being, the CA acknowledges the importance of social relations or networks. Yet, there are but a few studies that establish a link to social network analysis. This session aims at filling this gap.

We invite theoretical and conceptual contributions as well as empirical work linking the CA and SNA.

Submission will be closing on December 31 at 11:59:59 EST. Please limit your abstract to 250 words.
Proceed to abstract submission:
When submitting your abstract, please select “Capability approach and social network analysis” as session title in the drop down box on the submission site. To be extra sure please put a note in the “additional notes” box on the abstract submission form that states Ortrud Lessmann and Wenzel Matiaske as the session organizer.
For further information on the venue and conference registration see

Dr. Ortrud Lessmann
University of the Federal Armed Forces Hamburg
Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences
Institute for Human Resource and International Management

mailing address:
Postfach 700822 * 22008 Hamburg * Germany
T: +49 40 6541-1
F: +49 40 6541-2869

office address:
Holstenhofweg 85 * 22043 Hamburg * Germany
T: +49 40 6541-3678
F: +49 40 6541-3522