New CLC Stream: Vulnerability: Is there a Choice

by | 26 May 2012

‘Neoliberalism solves its problems by moving them around geopolitically’

David Harvey (2005).

This stream aims to create a space for dialogue about the issues that are pertinent to current geopolitical, neoliberal and socio-economic issues. We invite papers from all disciplines to address the concept of vulnerability as an embodied experience but also as a material and discursive practice. We call for papers that address how governments invoke discourses of vulnerability and risk in their responses to the current global economic crisis. To give an example of our thinking on this issue, this process comes into sharp relief in how government actors instrumentalise national vulnerability to justify a range of measures that have lead to millions of people experiencing real disempowerment, hardship and marginalisation. Furthermore, we see discourses of vulnerability as a racialised and gendered processes. Notable in this context is how global financial institutions have turned their regulatory “gaze” onto the bodies and behaviours of geospecific nations. In typical neoliberal fashion, those countries deemed to be profligate and reckless in managing their finances must be made governable and fiscally responsible citizens. Therefore, in this context it becomes possible to interpret discourses of vulnerability as tactics that legitimise a range of regulatory measures intended to protect the global economy at the expense of vast swathes of the world’s population.

Notwithstanding this reality, we see discourses of vulnerability as a space of possibility and potentiality, a position from where a new life, another way of being in the world, a new form or gathering or a new resistance is possible. In the spirit of critical dialogue, we are open to a variety of perspectives on this issue.


Dr Sharron FitzGerald, University of Hull,

Dr Andreja Zevnik, University of Manchester,


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