The capabilities approach, religious practices, and the importance of recognition

Abstract
When can ever be justified in banning a religious practice? This paper focusses on Martha Nussbaum's capabilities approach. Certain religious practices create a clash between capabilities where the capability to religious belief and expression is in conflict with the capability of equal status and nondiscrimination. One example of such a clash is the case of polygamy. Nussbaum argues that there may be circumstances where polygamy may be acceptable. On the contrary, I argue that the capabilities approach cannot justify polygamy in any circumstance. Her approach rules out polygamy, but may not rule out all non-monogamous relationships, such as polyamory. Finally, I conclude that the capabilities approach would benefit from a more robust understanding of recognition.
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