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
Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology
Internet use in class tied to lower test scores
16.12.2016 | Michigan State University
In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport
Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...
The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.
The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...
Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...
Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".
Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...
13.02.2017 | Event News
10.02.2017 | Event News
09.02.2017 | Event News
24.02.2017 | Life Sciences
24.02.2017 | Life Sciences
24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News