Tag Archives: vulnerable subject

Craig on Carline at Jotwell: Vulnerability, Sex Work, State Responses

Elaine Craig (Dalhousie) reviews Anna Carline‘s article Of Frames, Cons and Affects: Constructing and Responding to Prostitution and Trafficking for Sexual Exploitation (in a special issue of Feminist Legal Studies, 2012 Vol 20. (3)) over at Jotwell.  Enjoy the review and the article.

Anna Carline’s piece, … was of particular interest to me. Carline’s contribution interrogates the invocation of the vulnerable subject as a justification for state intervention with respect to sex work. She draws upon Judith Butler’s recent work theorizing life’s precarity in order to examine the race, class, and gender based differences in the distribution of vulnerability perpetuated by the Policing and Crime Act 2009 in England and Wales. Carline uses Butler’s framework to highlight how official discourses surrounding the adoption of this legislation framed the State as concerned with recognizing and protecting the vulnerable sex worker. This is a strategy that, according to Carline, ultimately resulted in reforms reflective of a law-and-order/morality approach to the sale of sex rather than a victim-centered approach.

via Forsaking Vulnerable Sex Work – Jotwell: Equality.

Stu Marvel (Osgoode PhD Candidate) gets postdoc with the Vulnerability and Human Condition Initiative

Osgoode expat Stu Marvel, now resident in the city she calls “Hotlanta,” has accepted a 2 year post-doc through Emory Law’s Vulnerability and the Human Condition Initiative.

As a grad student, Stu taught here as an adjunct.  Here is her page on Academia.edu (are people using this service?).  She’s going to be working on

queer fertility law and the biokinships of assisted reproduction

I think that is admirably succinct.   I offered her 140 characters, that leaves 76 more!  Here’s more about Stu’s doctoral work, from her academia.edu page:

Stu’s doctoral research relies upon an empirical study of LGBTQ families across Ontario and their use of assisted reproductive technologies, and seeks to develop new legal frameworks for queer kinship and fertility law.

Asked for a book, movie or music recommendation, Stu said that we should all see Pina (pref in 3d).  I’ve put it first so you don’t miss it.

The Vulnerability and the Human Condition Initiative under Prof. Martha Fineman is an institutional umbrella at Emory and houses a variety of projects across the university. One of these is the Feminism and Legal Theory Project, a long-standing program founded by Prof. Fineman in the early 1980s to fulfill three main objectives:

  • To provide a means to introduce scholarship that applies feminist theory and methodology into legal debate, legislative reform movements, and the broader academic community through publication of the conference papers
  • To support and encourage feminist scholarship on gender and legal equality issues that analyze the differential impact of law on women and men, and to consider also in this regard differences that exist or arise between differently situated women
  • To provide a forum within which feminist theorists can present their work and receive feedback from other scholars who share a common theoretical perspective and methodology

 

The FLTP also hosts visitors, and generally is something you should find out about if you are interested in finding a community of Feminist Legal scholars.    The VHC is a more recent initiative that frames Prof. Fineman’s earlier work through the paradigmatic concept of “The Vulnerable Subject” (for instance The Vulnerable Subject and the Responsive State. Emory Law Journal, Vol. 60; Emory Public Law Research Paper No. 10-130):


The concept has evolved from those early articulations, and I now think it has some significant differences as an approach, particularly in that a focus on vulnerability is decidedly focused on exploring the nature of the human part, rather than the rights part, of the human rights trope. Importantly, consideration of vulnerability brings societal institutions, in addition to the state and individual, into the discussion and under scrutiny. Vulnerability is posited as the characteristic that positions us in relation to each other as human beings and also suggests a relationship of responsibility between state and individual. The nature of human vulnerability forms the basis for a claim that the state must be more responsive to that vulnerability and do better at ensuring the “All-American” promise of equality of opportunity.” (from: The Vulnerable Subject and the Responsive State)

 

Stu heartily recommends reading these pieces and joining the conversation through the VHC symposium series. I hope to have more on these options coming soon as we make use of Stu as an international bridge for feminist/gender related/queer scholars.