This paper focuses on ways in which vulnerability is given meaning and related to in narratives of women serving a prison sentence for violent crimes. These women can be seen as inhabiting specifically vulnerable social positions in many respects, while at the same time their vulnerability is often denied. In my analysis I view the past, present, and future vulnerabilities of these women in a dialectical relation with the narratives they tell and the identities they enact through these tellings. In their narratives, vulnerability entwines with agentic orientations towards violence in complex ways. While often figuring as part of the context of doing violence, vulnerability is also refuted, combated, and distanced from the selves constituted in the narratives. In my reading, these ambivalent relations to vulnerability reflect the gendered trouble it poses for being seen as a worthy subject in the context of Western valorization of autonomy and individual agency.
Fields of Science
- 5144 Social psychology