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Context and history: Using a capabilities-based social justice perspective to explore three generations of western Turkish female teachers' lives

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>7/07/2013
<mark>Journal</mark>International Journal of Educational Development
Issue number4
Number of pages11
Pages (from-to)394-404
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date7/10/12
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The purpose of this paper is to understand historically and contextually the well-being and agency of selected female teachers in Turkey. The paper develops a justice model based on the capability approach to build on the relation between freedom and equality, and to take gender and cultural diversity as a key element. The research draws on results from in-depth biographical narratives of 15 participants from west Turkey, examining the real freedoms and opportunities of three different generations of female teachers through constructing a gendered look into women's lives. The study begins by developing a framework linking women's opportunities and freedoms drawing its normative compass from Martha Nussbaum's capabilities approach. It explores how female teachers’ well-being can be understood in relation to key capabilities that individuals, communities and society have reason to value and how these capabilities and functionings can be expanded or constrained. The paper argues for the significance of thinking about capabilities in the professional lives of teachers who work for social change. Through a historical and generational sequence, it captures the egalitarian aspects of the capability approach, and strengthens its emphasis on freedoms of women. The findings of this enquiry indicate that there are persistent economic, cultural, ethnical, structural and gendered inequalities in women's lives, but that women also have agency to bring changes in their lives and through their teaching.