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Guest Lecture: 17.05.2017

18-20h, Media room, 5th floor, KG IV

From Knowledge to Informational Basis: Capability, Capacity to Aspire and Research

Vando Borghi, University of Bologna, Italy


This lecture explores the way the process of transformation of knowledge into an ‘informational

basis’ (of policies and of public choice) represents a good terrain for building an effective exchange

and collaboration between the capability approach and other efforts, in the social sciences, to

emphasize the crucial role of agency, actors’ critical capacities and voice. Beyond the rhetorical

image of our self-claimed ‘knowledge societies’, the analysis of the contemporary characteristics

of the relationship between knowledge and an informational basis leads us to reconceive research

in terms of a human right to actively participate in the knowledge-making process, enabling

citizens’ capacity for voice to intervene in the construction of the informational bases of the

collective decision. Starting from focusing on these transformations through research cases about

the informational basis framing the relationship between safety and work, the article shows how,

beyond labour issues, at stake is the relationship between knowledge and democracy, as the core

moment of the latter, before the political choice is the cognitive one. An effective interaction

between the capability approach and other social science perspectives of research centred on

agency and capacity offers very helpful analytical tools for a critical appraisal and inquiry into these




informational basis, capability, capacity, capacity to aspire, voice, critique, labour, safety