Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Addressing the issues of vulnerability

An academic from the University of Leicester is to address the prestigious British Sociological Association at its annual conference later this month.

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
Further information:

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht New population data provide insight on aging, migration
31.08.2016 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht PRB projects world population rising 33 percent by 2050 to nearly 10 billion
25.08.2016 | Population Reference Bureau

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Innovative technique for shaping light could solve bandwidth crunch

20.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

Finding the lightest superdeformed triaxial atomic nucleus

20.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

NASA's MAVEN mission observes ups and downs of water escape from Mars

20.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

More VideoLinks >>>