The vulnerable child

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Resurgence of interest in philosophical vulnerability theory has significantly deepened our understanding of the human condition, both ontologically and in terms of the contingent conditions in which we live our lives and manifest our agency. Moreover, no understanding of the child and childhood can be complete without close attention to the significant vulnerability that shapes and conditions both. It would not be overstating matters to construe vulnerability as the backdrop against which a child’s life unfolds and her agency and autonomy become possible. And, importantly, understanding the child’s vulnerability significantly deepens our appreciation that vulnerability is wrongly conceived of as a necessarily undesirable and negative element of our lives – something from which we must be protected and rescued wherever possible. This chapter explores the contribution of vulnerability theory to clarifying the nature of childhood and the child, as well as the moral obligations generated by recognition of the child’s distinctive vulnerability.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge handbook of the philosophy of childhood and children
EditorsAnca Gheaus, Gideon Calder, Jurgen De Wispelaere
Place of PublicationLondon and New York
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor and Francis Group
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781351055987
ISBN (Print)9781138915978
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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