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By Mario Biggeri, Jérôme Ballet, Flavio Comim (eds.)

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The chapter concludes by contrasting discrepancies between the way children and adults understand what is “good for children”, and exploring the extent to which they can be usefully understood within Nussbaum’s meta-framework of central capabilities. In Chapter 10, Tindara Addabbo and Maria Laura Di Tommaso look at the possibilities of using structural equation modelling to measure the capabilities of Italian children (6–13 years old) by matching two data sets (ISTAT and Bank of Italy). The chapter focuses particularly on capabilities in two areas – “Senses, Imagination and Thought” (such as their attitude towards education, attending art classes and other extra-curricular classes, such as computing and languages) and “Leisure and Play Activities” (such Flavio Comim et al.

For this reason, those interested in children have to address the problem of which methods and techniques should be used to give voice to a childhood that is not able to speak for itself, by creating new instruments or trying to modify instruments already used in other scientific contexts. It follows that childhood researchers and policy makers should focus their attention on the ways children are involved and considered. The central question, what are we talking about when we are talking about childhood?

But, if the CA is based on people’s values (including children’s), participation should be one of the pillars of the approach. We think that when using the distinction between the process and opportunity aspects of freedom, Sen is aware of the difficulty facing the CA with respect to children’s participation. Children’s participation supposes a minimal autonomy, a minimal capacity of self-determination. Therefore, integrating children’s participation is a major stake. Also, Article 5 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child states that direction and guidance from parents or others with responsibility for the child must take account of the capacities of the child to exercise rights on his or her own behalf.

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