From Welfare to Well-being: new approaches for a good life




In this paper we reflect on some analysis conducted by researchers as Laura Balbo, Mary Catherine Bateson and Martha Nussbaum who, although having not had direct relations among them or specific partnerships, have greatly contributed to elaborate concepts and categories regarding our new vision of the well-being. This concept, so dear to the economist Amartya Sen, draws nourishment from thoughts and lived belonging to women’s life experience, particularly as concerning their capacity to organize their daily and family life, taking care of others, shouldering the vulnerabilities and building their biographical paths with creativity and adaptation. So we can understand what is a good life through the realization of our abilities, that is of each person, and not using a utility calculation. This involves a new approach to life quality and human development, that is exactly the capabilities approach described by Sen, rehashed by Nussbaum but, for some aspects, it was already present into the studies which characterize the gender prospective.


care, well-being, capability, good life


Download data is not yet available.


  1. Agarwal, B., Humphries, J. and Robeyns, I (edits.) (2005), Amartya Sen’s Work and Ideas: A Gender Perspective, Oxford, Routledge.

  2. Balbo, L. (2008), Il lavoro e la cura, Torino, Einaudi.

  3. Balbo, L. (edit.) (2013), Imparare, sbagliare, vivere. Storie di Lifelong Learning, Milano, Franco Angeli.

  4. Bateson, M. C. (1992), Comporre una vita, Milano, Feltrinelli.

  5. Bauman Z. (2002), Modernità liquida, Roma-Bari, Laterza.

  6. Bauman Z. (2003), Liquid Love. On the Frailty of Human Bonds, Oxford, Publishing Ltd.

  7. Bauman Z. (2003), Una nuova condizione umana, Milano, Vita E Pensiero.

  8. Bauman Z. (2005), Fiducia e paura nella città, Milano, Bruno Mondadori.

  9. Beck U. (2000), La società del rischio. Verso una seconda modernità, Roma, Carocci.

  10. Beck U. (2001), La società globale del rischio, Trieste, Asterios.

  11. Beck U. (2003), Un mondo a rischio, Torino, Einaudi.

  12. Beck U. (2008), Costruire la propria vita. Quanto costa la realizzazione di sé nella società del rischio, Bologna, il Mulino.

  13. Magni S. F. (2006), L’etica delle capacità. La filosofia pratica di Sen e Nussbaum, Bologna, il Mulino.

  14. Nussbaum, M. C. (2000), Women and Human Development: the Capabilities Approach, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

  15. Nussbaum, M. C.(2002), Giustizia sociale e dignità umana. Da individui a persone, Bologna, il Mulino.

  16. Nussbaum, M. C. (2012), Creare capacità. Liberarsi dalla dittatura del Pil, Bologna, il Mulino.

  17. Selvaggio M. A. (edit.) (2013), Educatrici di società. Racconti di donne e di cura, Napoli, ESA.

  18. Sen, A. K. (1985), Commodities and Capabilities, Oxford, Elsevier Science Publishers.

  19. Sen, A. K. (1993), Capability and Well-Being in M. C. Nussbaum and A. K. Sen (eds), The Quality of Life, Oxford, Clarendon Press, pp. 30-53.

  20. Sen, A. K. (2004), Capabilities, Lists and Public Reason: Continuing the Conversation, “Feminist Economics”, 10 (3), pp. 77-80.

  21. Sen, A. K. (2006), Etica ed economia, Roma-Bari, Laterza.




How to Cite

Selvaggio, M. (2016) “From Welfare to Well-being: new approaches for a good life”, Academicus International Scientific Journal. Vlora, Albania, 7(13), pp. 112–119. doi: 10.7336/academicus.2016.13.08.