SPAH Seminar Series: Mobilizing Vulnerability

Professor Moya Lloyd's seminar on the concept of vulnerability and how it is characterised

  • Thu 26 Nov 20

    15:00 - 17:00

  • Online


  • Event speaker

    Professor Moya Lloyd, University of Essex

  • Event type

    Lectures, talks and seminars
    SPAH Seminar Series

  • Event organiser

    Philosophy and Art History, School of

  • Contact details

    Hannah Whiting, School Manager

Philosophy and Art History Research Seminar meets weekly in term on Thursday afternoons to discuss a paper by a visiting philosopher, art historian, or a member of our academic staff

Professor Moya Lloyd from the Department of Government, University of Essex, is running a seminar on the concept and characterisation of vulnerability.

Abstract from paper on Mobilizing Vulnerability 

The concept of vulnerability has been the subject of renewed discussion in feminist circles. Although authors differ in terms of how they characterise vulnerability, one of the shared features of more recent work has been its focus on vulnerability’s ‘ambiguous potential’ (Murphy 2012: 65): vulnerability, that is, as both susceptibility to injury or harm and as a condition of ‘intersubjective freedom, action, and political engagement’ (Ziarek 2013: 68). This debate forms the backdrop to this paper where, drawing in particular from the work of Judith Butler, I explore the relation between vulnerability, agency and resistance. Instead, driven by a concern with subaltern politics and deeply sceptical of approaches that assume that particular persons or populations are ipso facto incapable of resistance because of the conditions of their existence, such as being held in immigration detention, my aim in this paper is to demonstrate that contentious politics is possible even in situations of often severe precarity. Received wisdom suggests that vulnerability is an impediment to political action yet (corporeal) vulnerability is integral to the ways in which resistance is shaped. It serves, I will suggest, variously as a provocation to action; it is mobilized ‘in’ collective acts of resistance (Butler 2106); and through such mobilizations it helps to generate new politicized spaces of appearance. 

To attend, please contact Hannah Whiting at hannah.whiting@essex.ac.uk for the Zoom link.

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