Sociology is the study of how society is organized and how people experience life, and Professor Barbara Misztal, of the Department of Sociology, has been researching the conditions under which people can become vulnerable – and how that vulnerability can be reduced.
While the concept of vulnerability has a long history in the study of natural disasters, hazards, famine and epidemiology, the recent intensification of interest in the issue amongst the media, politicians and the public has been mirrored by growing fascination with this subject within social science.
Addressing the issues of vulnerability is timely due not only to the continuing presence of ‘old ‘ risks but also as a result of growing concerns with consequences of new technologies and new social divisions and threats generated by the information flows and globalization.
Professor Misztal, inspired by Arendt’s concept of ‘the frailty of human affairs’, defines vulnerability as rooted in the human condition of dependence on others, in the unpredictability of action and in the irreversibility of human experiences. Such a conception of vulnerable humanity prompts search for ‘control mechanisms’ that can reduce vulnerability, and imbue people with the faith and hope they desperately need. Forgiveness, Promise and Trust can be applied at the level of the individual, or across the entirety of societies.
Forgiveness looks back in time and absolves the vulnerable from past mistakes, while Promising aims to establish ‘islands of security’ in an otherwise uncertain future. Trust is necessary; without it, vulnerable people would be reluctant to do anything. They need to feel confident both that others will keep to agreements to act in reliable and predictable ways, and that if their own actions have unintended consequences, it won’t be the end of the world.
Professor Misztal said that understanding vulnerability and its remedies is important; “such an understanding could help us to comprehend the essential conditions [for,] and the greatest obstacles to the construction of a peaceful and cosmopolitan world”.
Ather Mirza | alfa
Sibling differences: Later-borns choose less prestigious programs at university
14.11.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für demografische Forschung
Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ
09.11.2017 | Vanderbilt University
High-precision measurement of the g-factor eleven times more precise than before / Results indicate a strong similarity between protons and antiprotons
The magnetic moment of an individual proton is inconceivably small, but can still be quantified. The basis for undertaking this measurement was laid over ten...
Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...
The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.
Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....
The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...
15.11.2017 | Event News
15.11.2017 | Event News
30.10.2017 | Event News
24.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.11.2017 | Health and Medicine
24.11.2017 | Earth Sciences