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Work, politics, nature, and health in the contemporary United States

Life in America has been transformed over the past thirty-five years. Using a historical materialist framework, the authors argue that what appear today as fragmented social, economic, environmental, and political problems are all manifestations of neoliberalism – a class-based political project to position capital more favourably in its struggle to preserve the conditions for accumulation. This project reaches deeply into the weave of biological, ecological, and social life. It involves both the increasing role of money and markets in the determination of life chances, and the systematic push of corporations into previously protected spheres of life.

Emphasizing Martha Nussbaum’s question “What does a life worthy of human dignity require?”, each chapter of this book (covering work, the environment, health, education, and politics) analyses a cornerstone of human development that had previously been, to varying degrees, protected from the logic of the capitalist market. This book examines how US business successfully increased control over, privatized, or commodified each of these areas, amounting to a neoliberal transformation of lived experience. Neoliberalism has far-reaching and troubling consequences for the potential of people in the US to live a full and flourishing life. The final chapter provides an evaluation of the claim that the election of Donald Trump to the US presidency represents a rupture in neoliberal politics.

Alex Schafran, Matthew Noah Smith, and Stephen Hall

, then I cannot walk down the road anyway. When it comes to reliance systems, people are free not only because of an absence of laws or customs or rules or armed guards obstructing them, but because of the presence of a specific reliance system. In order to have the capacity to walk down the road, there needs to be a road. In this chapter we first expand upon the philosophical foundations of this more material or active understanding of freedom, an understanding that owes the deepest debt to the capabilities approach developed by Amartya Sen, Martha

in The spatial contract

The well-being of Europe’s citizens depends less on individual consumption and more on their social consumption of essential goods and services – from water and retail banking to schools and care homes – in what we call the foundational economy. Individual consumption depends on market income, while foundational consumption depends on social infrastructure and delivery systems of networks and branches, which are neither created nor renewed automatically, even as incomes increase. This historically created foundational economy has been wrecked in the last generation by privatisation, outsourcing, franchising and the widespread penetration of opportunistic and predatory business models. The distinctive, primary role of public policy should therefore be to secure the supply of basic services for all citizens (not a quantum of economic growth and jobs). Reconstructing the foundational has to start with a vision of citizenship that identifies foundational entitlements as the conditions for dignified human development, and likewise has to depend on treating the business enterprises central to the foundational economy as juridical persons with claims to entitlements but also with responsibilities and duties. If the aim is citizen well-being and flourishing for the many not the few, then European politics at regional, national and EU level needs to be refocused on foundational consumption and securing universal minimum access and quality. If/when government is unresponsive, the impetus for change has to come from engaging citizens locally and regionally in actions which break with the top down politics of ‘vote for us and we will do this for you’.

Bryan Fanning

years of their existence, they were, perhaps, very much alike, and neither their parents nor play-fellows could perceive any remarkable difference.36 Somewhat similarly, social research on well-being and living conditions emphasises a range of factors other than material conditions. In Brian Nolan’s summary of Swedish ‘level of living’ welfare research (which has much in common with Sen’s capabilities approach) these include ‘knowledge, mental and physical energy and social relationships, through which an individual can control and consciously direct his living

in Immigration and social cohesion in the Republic of Ireland
Open Access (free)
Environmental justice and citizen science in a post-truth age
Editors: Thom Davies and Alice Mah

This book examines the relationship between environmental justice and citizen science, focusing on enduring issues and new challenges in a post-truth age. Debates over science, facts, and values have always been pivotal within environmental justice struggles. For decades, environmental justice activists have campaigned against the misuses of science, while at the same time engaging in community-led citizen science. However, post-truth politics has threatened science itself. This book makes the case for the importance of science, knowledge, and data that are produced by and for ordinary people living with environmental risks and hazards. The international, interdisciplinary contributions range from grassroots environmental justice struggles in American hog country and contaminated indigenous communities, to local environmental controversies in Spain and China, to questions about “knowledge justice,” citizenship, participation, and data in citizen science surrounding toxicity. The book features inspiring studies of community-based participatory environmental health and justice research; different ways of sensing, witnessing, and interpreting environmental injustice; political strategies for seeking environmental justice; and ways of expanding the concepts and forms of engagement of citizen science around the world. While the book will be of critical interest to specialists in social and environmental sciences, it will also be accessible to graduate and postgraduate audiences. More broadly, the book will appeal to members of the public interested in social justice issues, as well as community members who are thinking about participating in citizen science and activism. Toxic Truths includes distinguished contributing authors in the field of environmental justice, alongside cutting-edge research from emerging scholars and community activists.

Open Access (free)
Tackling environmental injustice in a post-truth age
Thom Davies and Alice Mah

mean involvement in decision making can also stifle the significance of environmental justice struggles. As Ambriz and Correia (2017, 54) argue, “representation and participation, however important, are never enough.” The third major form of justice that we highlight here takes inspiration from American philosopher Martha Nussbaum (2011) and Indian economist Amartya Sen (2009) and is concentrated on capabilities. The capabilities approach to justice is centered around the ability of individuals to live freely and unhindered in the world, and, though linked to the

in Toxic truths
Michael Parker and Micaela Ghisleni

’. See M. Nussbaum, Women and Human Development: The Capabilities Approach (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000). 11 Gilligan, In a Different Voice, p. 30. 12 Ibid., pp. 11–12. 13 O. O’Neill, ‘Duties and Virtues’, in M. Warnock (ed.), Women Philosophers (London: Orion Publishing, 1996), pp. 257–72. 14 Ibid., pp. 265–6. 15 Aristotle, Nichomachean Ethics, trans. J.A.K. Thompson (London: Penguin, 1976), p. 200 (1137b). 16 See also, J. Mcdowell, ‘Virtue and Reason’, The Monist, 62 (1979), 331–50 for a similar argument. 17 O’Neill, ‘Duties and Virtues’, pp. 260

in From reason to practice in bioethics
Helen Brooks, Penny Bee, and Anne Rogers

researcher positioning (Brooks et al., 2016): A Research Handbook for Patient and Public Involvement Researchers Trustworthiness of data and analysis HB and KR are health service researchers, SW is a Lecturer in Mental Health, KL is a Professor in Mental Health and AR is a Professor of Health Systems Implementation. As such, researchers had no therapeutic relationship with participants. The conceptual starting point of our study is one informed by a capabilities approach which recognises that social context and engagement with valued people, places and activities are

in A research handbook for patient and public involvement researchers
The Foundation Economy Collective

known for this analysis, human capabilities are linked to the idea of the good life and the possibilities for human flourishing (Sen 1999). The capabilities approach sets out a path for assessing social, political and economic systems against their effect on human flourishing and well-being. Moreover, Nussbaum (2000) has extended this to a rights-based approach, which constructs lists of capabilities that should be enshrined in constitutions (accepting that capabilities can vary cross-culturally). These arguments can be linked to citizenship, as Lockwood’s work shows

in Foundational economy
A Capability Approach based analysis from the UK and Ireland
Alma Clavin

): Women and Human Development: The Capabilities Approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Nussbaum, M. (2007): Human rights and human capabilities. Harvard Human Rights Journal 21: 21–​24. Orr, D. (1992): Ecological Literacy: Education and the Transition to a Postmodern World. Albany: Suny Press. Pink, S. (2007): Walking with video. Visual Studies 22 (3): 240–​252. Qizilbash, M. (1998): The concept of well-​being. Economics and Philosophy 14 (1): 51–​73. Rawls, J. (1971): A Theory of Justice. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Robeyns, I. (2005): Selecting

in Urban gardening and the struggle for social and spatial justice