Vulnerability and Care: an anthropology of the good, the bad, and the ugly?

  • Date: Jun 21, 2021
  • Time: 15:00 - 16:15
  • Speaker: Jason Danely (Oxford Brookes University)
  • Jason Danely is Senior Lecturer in Anthropology of Japan at Oxford Brookes University.
  • Location: Video Conference
Vulnerability and Care: an anthropology of the good, the bad, and the ugly?


Please contact menster(at)mmg.mpg.de to register and obtain the Zoom credentials.

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Vulnerability is a fundamental aspect of the human condition, giving rise to the need for care in various forms. Yet in reality, we are not all vulnerable in the same way, and not all vulnerabilities are equally recognised or cared for. Moreover, whilst care can be a practice that gives, sustains and affirms life, caring relations and arrangements are not always as benign as we may assume. Furthermore, as social institutions take up the language of ‘vulnerability’ for different political projects, such as humanitarian aid or social welfare, those receiving care are further separated into the more or less deserving, the good subject of care and the bad one. This talk will consider the variable meanings, manifestations and implications of ‘vulnerability’ and ‘care’, examining their complex relationship, and asking how rethinking vulnerability and care may help us to challenge prevailing notions of power, violence, security and well-being. Rather than proposing a vulnerability as a master narrative of care, I will introduce four thematic areas that provide a basis for anthropological engagement with other disciplines concerned with vulnerability and care, and argue for a transdisciplinary approach.

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