University Of Tasmania

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In defense of vulnerability

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 15:47 authored by Catherine RobinsonCatherine Robinson
Is vulnerability a poisoned conceptual chalice from which only individualized notions of suffering and responsibility can emerge? What would the concept of vulnerability have to do in order to be considered valuable in advancing social justice? In this article I utilize critique of the ‘vulnerability turn’ in child and youth policy as a launch pad into rethinking an emboldened account of vulnerability. In particular, I am drawn to the urgency of vulnerability, understood as an immediate openness to wounding, and find ethical and practical value in the unfinished business of struggling to justly define what constitutes vulnerability and who counts as vulnerable. Grounding theoretical exploration in reflections on unique Australian research on unaccompanied homeless children, the article seeks to advance vulnerability as a potentially radical tool for research and welfare policy that can grip the lived complexity of systemic and personal adversity.


Publication title





School of Social Sciences


Palgrave Macmillan Ltd

Place of publication

United Kingdom

Rights statement

© Crown 2023

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Homelessness and housing services; Youth services; Expanding knowledge in human society

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