A Capability Approach to Language Education in the Gaza Strip

“To Plant Hope in a Land of Despair”


  • Maria Grazia Imperiale University of Glasgow


Language education, capability approach, Gaza Strip, voice and agency, linguistic resistance


This article proposes a shift away from competence models (Byram 1997) toward a more holistic approach in language education. Drawing on original critical participatory action research with English teachers in the Gaza Strip (Palestine), Imperiale argues that the capability approach (Sen 1985; Nussbaum 2000) offers a potential framework for understanding and co-constructing language education in precarious circumstances such as those in Gaza. The participants in this study are followed through their process of nourishing what Nussbaum (2006) considers the three capabilities in education: affiliation, narrative imagination and critical examination. Their work also nurtured the further capability of voice and agency, which, in the specific context of Gaza, intersects with acts of aesthetic, cultural and linguistic resistance.  

Author Biography

Maria Grazia Imperiale, University of Glasgow

Imperiale is a PhD researcher in the School of Education, University of Glasgow.