December 1, 2011 08:38 Age: 2 yrs

Fineman Article on Vulnerability Cited for Insightfulness

An article by Robert W. Woodruff Professor of Law Martha A. Fineman was hailed as one of the most important recent examinations of the concept of vulnerability and how it affects law and public policy.

Writing for Jotwell’s jurisprudence journal, Sean Coyle praised Fineman’s article “The Vulnerable Subject and the Responsive State,” published last year in the Emory Law Journal.

“Fineman’s article reminds us of the important truth that vulnerability is a permanent feature of the human condition,” Coyle writes.

Poverty, illness and discrimination “do not abate in the face of increased opportunity,” Coyle writes. Nor does a “sink or swim” social stance make the vulnerable more resilient, he says.

“Socialists frequently confuse vulnerability with welfare need. Alleviating the effects of certain forms of vulnerability, socialists have therefore encouraged people to become vulnerable in other ways, reliant on systems of support over which they have no meaningful control,” Coyle writes.

“For conservatives, nothing matters more than the elimination of structures which inhibit freedom,” Coyle said. “The defeat of this last enemy will allow men to escape all others: surely no one who is the author of his own situation can be afflicted by vulnerabilities?”

Read Coyle’s article

Read Fineman’s article in the Emory Law Journal

Vulnerability and the Human Condition

Professor Fineman’s profile


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