A Political Theology of Vulnerability


Vulnerability is at the core of the political drama of our time. Countering conventional approaches, this book presents human vulnerability as a source of political community and a potential for political agency in precarity. Analyzing Christian celebrations of Christmas and Easter in contexts of struggle, it shows how religious resources inspire precarious politics. Combining critical political theory, liberation theology, and lived religion, Sturla J. Stålsett sees in such celebrations a ‘political sacralization’ of vulnerability and a ‘dispossession of divinity.’

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Sturla J. Stålsett, Ph.D. (1998), is Professor of Religion, Society and Diaconal Studies at MF Norwegian School of Theology, Religion and Society. He has published monographs, edited compilations, and written numerous research articles in English, Norwegian and Spanish on Liberation, Political and Contextual Theology, Globalization and Religion, Politics of Faith and Belief, Human Rights, Ethics and Diaconal work, including The crucified and the Crucified: A Study in the Liberation Christology of Jon Sobrino (Peter Lang, 2003), Spirits of Globalisation. The Growth of Pentecostalism and Experiential Spiritualities in a Global Age. (SCM Press, 2006), and Religion in a Globalised Age: Transfers and Transformations, Integration and Resistance (Novus Press, 2008).
Taking vulnerability as starting point for constructive agency and community radically transforms political theology. The author’s powerful global experience and intellectual depth make this book essential reading for anybody concerned with theological attention to lived religion, emancipation, justice, love, and peace in the pressing conflicts of our world. - Werner G. Jeanrond, Em. Professor of Theology, University of Oslo.
Preface: Fires in Paradise

1 Project: A Political Theology of Vulnerability
  1 Questions
  2 Definitions
  3 Contribution
  4 Procedure

2 Precarity: Political Agency and Community in Crisis
  1 Precariat
  2 Multitude
  3 Bare life
  4 Immunity
  5 Necropolitics
  6 Precarity

3 Precarious: Reconsidering Vulnerability
  1 Provocation
  2 Grievability
  3 Differentiation
  4 Agency
  5 Relationality
  6 Responsibility
  7 Community
  8 Recognition
  9 Dispossession
  10 Resilience
  11 Resistance
  12 Performativity
  13 Affirmation
  14 Framing

4 Precious: Religion in Precarious Times
  1 Secularization
  2 Security
  3 Deprivation
  4 Responses
  5 Ultimacy
  6 Wrongness
  7 ‘Handling’

5 Preaching: Sacralizing Vulnerability
  1 Birthdays
  2 San Jorge
  3 Divine Dispossession
  4 Vulnerable God
  5 Sacralizing Vulnerability
  6 Subversive Salvation
  7 Community-in-Vulnerability
  8 Infrapolitics

6 Prayer: Spirituals Confronting Crucifixion
  1 Spirituals
  2 Community
  3 Strange Fruit
  4 Recrucifixions
  5 Wounds
  6 Healing Sub Contrario
  7 Amnesty
  8 Love

7 Promise: The Vulnerable Basis of Political Agency and Community

The book is of particular interest for researchers, practitioners and (post-graduate) students of theology, contemporary lived religion, critical theory and political science, with a particular interest in decolonizing and liberative approaches to present-day global challenges.
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