John Barry

in The Politics of Actually Existing Unsustainability

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199695393
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738982 | DOI:

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Vulnerability and associated concepts such as dependence, are relatively little-used terms within mainstream political theory. Self-consciously working within an eco-feminist perspective, this chapter indicates that issues of unsustainability have brought considerations of vulnerability centre stage. Another key concept outlined is ‘sequestration’ (taken from Giddens), denoting the deliberate ‘hiding away’ of ‘existentially troubling’ aspects of modern living, that remind us of our vulnerable and dependent natures. This chapter also discusses the work of MacIntyre on vulnerability, before turning to an analysis of the ‘limiting case’ of the cultural devastation experienced by the Crow nation in the nineteenth century, and what it teaches us about resilience and adaptability. The final section of this chapter offers a discussion of illness, death, and human flourishing. This chapter makes the case for a more explicit acknowledgement and integration of illness, disability, dependence, and death into our conceptualizations about a normal human life, and more than that, a full account of a flourishing human life requires it.

Keywords: vulnerability; flourishing; dependence; subjectivity; sequestration; Alasdair MacIntyre; Anthony Giddens; Susan Sontag; Thomas Homer-Dixon

Chapter.  22308 words. 

Subjects: Environment

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