Environmental justice, capabilities, and the theorization of well-being

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Environmental justice (EJ) scholarship is increasingly framing justice in terms of capabilities. This paper argues that capabilities are fundamentally about well-being and as such there is a need to more explicitly theorize well-being. We explore how capabilities have come to be influential in EJ and how well-being has been approached so far in EJ specifically and human geography more broadly. We then introduce a body of literature from social psychology which has grappled theoretically with questions about well-being, using the insights we gain from it to reflect on some possible trajectories and challenges for EJ as it engages with well-being.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)754-769
Number of pages16
JournalProgress in Human Geography
Issue number6
Early online date17 Dec 2015
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016


    Research areas

  • capabilities, environmental ethics, environmental justice, eudaimonia, hedonia, justice, well-being

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