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Accepted Paper:

A Philosophical Perspective of Institutional Power Discourse and Real Freedom of Agency: The Case of Adolescents Low and Middle Income in Bogotá/Colombia  


Pedro Hernando Maldonado Castañeda (Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores from a philosophical perspective the interrelation between institutions power discourses and real freedoms of agency based on the Capabilities Approach (Sen, 2009) relates it with Institutional Ethnography (Smith, 2005) focusing on marginal adolescents case in Bogotá/Colombia.

Paper long abstract:

Development is people-centred. Human development depends on fair social and economic institutions. The fair consists of the removal of various types of unfreedoms that leave people with little opportunity of exercising their reasoned agency (Sen, 1999). Different scholars (Berger and Luckmann, 2006; Bauman, 2013; Sen, 1999; Smith, 2005) have insisted on pointing out the dual constraining and enabling role that institutions play in shaping people's lives in ways that don´t necessarily respond to their best interests and that tend to eliminate the expansion of the real freedoms of agency to decide on how to live their own lives (Sen, 1999). People's lives are caught up in institutional processes mediated by organising power discourses as materially replicable objects that carry messages (Smith, 2014) to organise people's everyday lives (Murray, 2020). This research to explore the interrelation between institutions power discourses and the people´ real freedoms of agency, with special emphasis on knowing (i) how subjects navigate between different institutional abstracted discourses, (ii) how institutional processes shape and limit the development of their real freedoms agency and (iii) how institutions power discourses can have an unfair impact on the development of subjects. I focus on real freedom agency concept based on Capabilities Approach theory (Amartya Sen, 2009) and relate it with Institutional Ethnography (Dorothy Smith, 2005) as an empirical method, influence by Marx theory, focusing on a marginal adolescent group in Bogotá-Colombia, exploring connections among local agency settings of their everyday lives (experience), institutional discourses (power language), and translocal agency (ruling relations).

Panel P53d
Rethinking Power in Development Practice: understanding 'local agency' IV