Vulnerability as a Category of Historical Analysis: Initial Thoughts in Tribute to Martha Albertson Fineman
15 Pages Posted: 12 Jul 2018
Date Written: July 2, 2018
This short essay in tribute to Martha Albertson Fineman offers some initial thoughts about the significance of vulnerability theory as a category of analysis in legal history. Vulnerability theory is centrally concerned with how the state should respond to the inevitability of change over time in individual, social, institutional, and environmental circumstances. Vulnerability theory thus suggests that the law must account for temporality, making legal history central to the project of legal theory. To develop this insight, I use an illustrative example from my own scholarship: the legal construction and obfuscation of vulnerability in the U.S. welfare regime.
Keywords: legal history, vulnerability, gender, welfare, social policy
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