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Vulnerability and Courage

A Pastoral Theology of Poverty and the Alienated Self


Hyon-Uk Shin

Vulnerability and Courage examines the influence of poverty on the experience of self among adolescents. It explores psychosocial and theological aspects of poverty and alienation from ontological and existential perspectives. Although poverty and alienation are typically considered from sociological or ethical perspectives, this book focuses on the psychosocial mechanisms that impact character and identity formation and on their pastoral theological implications. To this end, Vulnerability and Courage examines Erich Fromm’s discourses on an inauthentic pseudo-self as well as Erik Erikson’s view on an individual’s identity formation. In addition, it points to the innately existential impact of the experience of poverty by means of Paul Tillich’s ontological understanding of alienation. The main theme is that psychological and existential perspectives on poverty enrich discourses on alienation as a window through which we can see the multi-layered structure or mechanism of economic vulnerability, a structure that through various means can hugely influence one’s life.