Quotation Rauschmayer, Felix, Polzin, Christine , Mock, Mirijam, Omann, Ines. 2017. Examining Collective Action Through the Capability Approach: The Example of Community Currencies. Journal Journal of Human Development and Capabilities 15 (13),




Collective action—the involvement of a group of people carrying out common and voluntary actions to pursue shared interests—has a high potential to contribute to agency and wellbeing freedom. It is a current and recurrent phenomenon in society, but it is still poorly explained by the Capability Approach (CA). This paper’s main aim is to look more closely at how the CA can be used to better frame, understand and evaluate the impacts of collective action. Based on a discussion of the literature on collective capabilities and agency we suggest extending the perspective of the original approach, mainly through a more explicit distinction between three layers: individual processes, collective action, and social institutions. We argue that such an extension is useful in order to evaluate how collective action can alter wellbeing and agency freedoms. By way of example, we look at community currency (CC) initiatives—trading schemes that are designed and implemented as a supplement to the legal tender money—and employ the three-layered CA to describe and evaluate the effects of acting collectively in such a setting. We also point out what distinguishes such an assessment from other approaches that we have found in the literature on CC. We conclude that a more systematic analysis of collective action through the CA may enable the latter to provide for useful assessments of collective action. Keywords: Capability Approach, Agency, Agency freedom, Wellbeing freedom, Collective action, Community currencies, Collective capabilities


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Publication's profile

Status of publication Published
Affiliation WU
Type of publication Journal article
Journal Journal of Human Development and Capabilities
Citation Index SSCI
WU-Journal-Rating new VW-D
Language English
Title Examining Collective Action Through the Capability Approach: The Example of Community Currencies
Volume 15
Number 13
Year 2017
URL http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/19452829.2017.1415870
DOI https://doi.org/10.1080/19452829.2017.1415870


Mock, Mirijam (Details)
Omann, Ines (WU, Austria)
Polzin, Christine (UFZ, Germany)
Rauschmayer, Felix (UFZ, Germany)
Institute for Social Change and Sustainability IN (Details)
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