An Analytics of Vulnerability

From 21 to 25 January, Don Kulick and Michel Naepels co-chaired an Advanced Seminar* on “An Analytics of Vulnerability” at the School for Advanced Research (SAR).

Seminar theme: Vulnerability is undergoing re-evaluation in philosophy, the social sciences and the humanities, and has emerged as a key concept in anthropology. From having been perceived as a condition from which subjects should be liberated, vulnerability has increasingly come to be theorized as a position or experience that invites the possibility to extend theory and understandings of ethics. Consideration of vulnerability compels attention to scale, perspective, tactics, experience, structure, power, engagement and species. These features suggest that vulnerability might best be approached not in terms of a single a coherent theory that attempts to quantify it, or propose typologies. Instead, it may be more productive to apprehend vulnerability through what Foucault called an “analytics”. This seminar brings together scholars from several disciplines to discuss the co-existence of different ideas about vulnerability and to facilitate their sharing, in order to devise new ways of apprehending both human and non-human vulnerability.

*Advanced Seminars at SAR promote in-depth communication among scholars who are at a critical stage of research on a shared topic. SAR generally funds two or three traditional Advanced Seminars per year.