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Capabilities ApproachThe capabilities approach (CA) developed by Amartya Sen and others has been extremely influential as an approach to evaluation, social assessment and policy analysis and development. In the context of the current UK policy arena, this paper outlines Sen’s CA and argues for its utility as a theoretical framework for understanding and evaluating the relevance of adult community learning to mental health. It shows how the CA can be employed for this purpose and discusses the relevance of gender and other social inequalities for understanding in this area, thereby contributing to a growing body of literature on developing a social model of mental health.

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