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Vulnerable Futures, Transformative Pasts

On Vulnerability, Temporality, and Ethics

Miri Rozmarin

Vulnerability reins our time. People know that their world is changing in ways that they cannot foresee. Communities disintegrate and boundaries lose their relevance. Drawing on the concept of vulnerability as an affective relation individuals hold with their world and with their lives, this book analyzes vulnerability as it is immanently connected to temporality. It provides an account of political temporality – connections between past, present, and future that engage with the contemporary social reality – and enables and sustains transformative dynamics through which individuals can mobilize their vulnerability. This technique allows them to gradually transform their reality and its influence on their own subjectivity and agency. This book portrays the kinds of relations through time and social space that people can create by working with their vulnerability as an affect that has the power to yield new sensibilities, skills, and values. These connections with the past are called transformative lineages.

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This project would not have been written without the inspiration, insights, support and collaboration of many people and institutions. I am afraid that acknowledging everybody would be impossible as this project has evolved over the course of five years, and the many who have shared with me pieces of their lives, who have been there for me listening and responding, have a part in the becoming of this book. So, I will start by deeply thanking all those who have enriched my world with their presence.

I would like to first thank those who have supported me throughout the last four years of research. First and foremost, to my wonderful assistant, Tomer Sassonkin, a brilliant young scholar whose contribution to this project is beyond measure. I am incredibly grateful to Tomer for his careful reading, and for tirelessly devoting his skills to the editing and formatting of this manuscript.

To my wonderful graduate students at Bar-Ilan University, and especially to the students at the “Vulnerability” seminar, who have shared with me their experiences and insights. I owe them a tremendous gratitude for their thought-provoking discussions.

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