Vulnerability and Critical Theory


In Vulnerability and Critical Theory, Estelle Ferrarese identifies contemporary developments on the theme of vulnerability within critical theory while also seeking to reconstruct an idea of vulnerability that enables an articulation of the political and demonstrates how it is socially produced. Philosophies that take vulnerability as a moral object contribute to rendering the political, as the site of a specific power and action, foreign to vulnerability and the notion of recognition offered by critical theory does not correct this deficit. Instead, Ferrarese argues that vulnerability, as susceptibility to a harmful event, is above all a breach of normative expectations. She demonstrates that these expectations are not mental phenomena but are situated between subjects and must even be conceived as institutions. On this basis she argues that the link between the political and vulnerability cannot be reduced to the institutional implementation of moral principles. Rather she seeks to rethink the political by taking vulnerability as the starting point and thereby understands the political as simultaneously referring to the advent of a world, the emergence of a relation, and the appearance of a political subject.

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Biographical Note
Estelle Ferrarese is Professor of Political Philosophy at Amiens University. She has been a Visiting Professor at the New School for Social Research in New York, an Alexander von Humboldt-Foundation fellow at the Humboldt Universität as well as research fellow at the Marc Bloch Franco-German Center of Social Science Research in Berlin. Her books include: Ethique et politique de l'espace public. Habermas et la discussion (Paris, Vrin, 2015); Qu’est-ce que lutter pour la reconnaissance? (Lormont, Editions Le Bord de l’Eau, 2013). She is also the author of numerous articles on Critical Theory, deliberative democracy, vulnerability and feminist theory.
Scholars of political and moral philosophy, political and social theory, graduate students in the same disciplines and all those (including educated laypersons) generally interested in Critical Theory.
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