Nussbaum Honored For Social Reform

Nussbaum Honored For Social Reform
Law School Staff
Law School Office of Communications
January 5, 2009

Martha Nussbaum, the Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics in the Law School, Philosophy Department and the Divinity School, has been awarded the 2009 A.SK prize by the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung. The award pays tribute to social system reformers.

The A.SK honors Nussbaum’s work on the foundations of social and global justice, which she has pursued through the study of the “capabilities approach” and the Human Development and Capability Association, of which Nussbaum and Amartya Sen of Harvard University are founding presidents.

Nussbaum has been integral in the development of the “capabilities approach,” which criticizes the traditional focus on quality of life in terms of GNP per capita, which hides huge inequalities within states. Instead it focuses on people’s actual capabilities within the constraints of their societies. She has focused particularly on the relationship between poverty and gender inequality, which is the subject of her books Women and Human Development and Frontiers of Justice.

“Women, the rural poor, and other subordinated groups are usually injured by policies focused on growth alone, since they rarely control the fruits of a nation's general prosperity.” Nussbaum said. “My work on the ‘capabilities approach’ is meant to change the emphasis of the development process so that the first question asked is always, &l