Feminist Archives: Narrating Embodied Vulnerabilities and Practices of Care

Anno LVII, n. 235, settembre-dicembre 2022
Articolo completo/Full text


The outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 has exposed a shared condition of vulnerability on a global scale. How can we use vulnerability as an effective paradigm in order to foster collective political initiatives? This essay claims that the idea of care is key to understand the vulnerability framework as being both an epistemic and a political resource to address ethical issues. The first half of the essay recollects several arguments in Adriana Cavarero’s and Judith Butler’s most recent works, insofar as both theorists have
insisted on the notion of vulnerability in order to interpret contemporary political mobilizations. The second part of the essay retraces a constellation of practices of care in the works of several Black and decolonial feminist thinkers situated in different socio-political contexts. Whereas for Christina Sharpe and Saidiya Hartman the focus is on the matter of Blackness and Black lives in their constitutive vulnerability, both Cristina Rivera Garza’s and Sayak Valencia’s works remarkably insist on the specific
socio-political context of today’s Mexico. These authors urge the readers to adopt a critical posture when encountering official narratives, also because in their texts they exhibit their own vulnerability. For them, writing, their writing is an ethical demand to imagine alternatives and to foster new entanglements between bodies persisting on the margins, at the limits of the norms that regulate legibility.