Towards a research program on agency through the capability approach


  • Daniele Morselli
  • Piergiuseppe Ellerani



Teacher training; Capability approach; Agency; Vygotsky; Qualitative inquiry.


The concept of agency is increasingly mentioned in policy documents and its use in education
according to a capability approach is particularly recent. This paper sets to review
the studies on the matter to identify theories, instruments on how to promote
agency in teachers according to a capability approach. It presents three perspectives on
agency in professional contexts, these are the sociocultural studies originated from Vygotsky,
the identity and life-course notions, and the social realist theory. In the conclusions
the paper integrates the ecological model with the social realist theory, and
eventually hypothesizes two research streams to study agency according to the capability
approach. These concern, on the one hand, the development of forms of agency for
active participation and positive social change, while the other pertains to the identification
of the specific factors that in each context allow for its substantial achievement


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