**In past FLT workshops we have considered the concept of”Vulnerability,”arguing that it is universal and constant, inherent in the human condition. Further, while vulnerability can never be totally eliminated, society and its institutions confer certain”assets,”such as wealth, health, education, family relationships, or marketable skills that give individuals”resilience”in the face of their vulnerability. Ensuring meaningful equality of opportunity requires that a responsive state monitor access to these institutions, paying attention to and addressing any unequal distribution of privilege, going beyond concern with discrimination based on identity categories. Our shared vulnerability is the basis for claims upon the state.
**In this workshop we will focus on understanding how the relationship between”resilience”and”the state”can be theorized. Thus far resilience as a theoretical concept has been addressed primarily in the disciplines of developmental psychology, terrorism preparedness, and ecology and climate change. These broad fields approach the concept in slightly different ways, but they share an emphasis on hardiness and the ability of individuals to survive despite hardship. Suniya S. Luthar defines resilience as”the manifestation of positive adaptation despite significant life adversity.”Tuppet Yates, Egeland Byron, and Alan Sroufe define resilience as an “ongoing process of garnering resources” that enables successful adaptation when one is confronted with significant transitions, misfortunes, opportunities, or trials in life. When used primarily to describe individuals, resilience is a highly relational concept, emphasizing the importance of understanding individuals within family and community contexts. In its individual emphasis it encompasses more than a catalogue of protective factors. There is recognition that the same individual can display resilience in one circumstance but not another, or at one point in time, but not another. What has not been fully developed, however, is the scope and nature of the state’s responsibility to facilitate the processes of building individual resilience â€“ what is an appropriately responsive state?
** How can feminist law, culture, and society scholars use the concept of resilience to think about existing norms and structures? What is the relationship between those processes and equality? In particular, how should we shape a more responsive state and what would be the implications of doing so for existing institutions such as the family, public education, the workplace, and the financial system?
Feminism and Legal Theory Project: Martha L. A. Fineman, Emory University School of Law
Please email a paper proposal of several paragraphs length by February 1st to: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
Working paper drafts to be duplicated and distributed prior to the Workshop will be due March 1st.