Skip to main content

Law and Gender

Martha Fineman – Austerity, Vulnerability and Justice events

6 July 2016

Cardiff University’s School of Law and Politics is delighted to host a visit from Professor Martha A. Fineman of Emory University, Atlanta, USA this July.

Martha is known around the world for her socio-legal scholarship and her work on vulnerability.  It is a huge pleasure that she is joining us for a few days and will give a key note address at our Summer Seminar ‘Austerity, vulnerability and justice’ on 14th July. Reservations should be made at .  On the 15th July, Martha is also holding a workshop for post-graduate students from across the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences College entitled ‘Beyond Gender’ in which she will converse with them in order explore two of her key texts. To express interest in attending this, postgrads should email Dr Dan Newman:

The Law and Society summer seminar runs from 1.45 – 5pm on 14th July.  Martha will provide an overview of her vulnerability theory and apply it to the notion of austerity, which pits the universal vulnerability of individual human beings against the apparent vulnerability of institutions of the state.  Institutions of justice are a key site of contest and deleterious impacts on human wellbeing and the quality of life may be observed.  By taking a vulnerability approach, the functions of the state, as a critical actor in enabling individuals and communities to exercise resilience, moves into view as basic tenet of justice.  Alongside Martha, guest speakers will share research and knowledge about the vulnerability of communities in Wales, as well as explore forms of resilience.  In the final session of the seminar, a panel of experts from Cardiff law school will highlight how austerity interacts with legal processes and individual capacities to access justice in areas of law as diverse as the withdrawal of legal aid in family law, the imposition of fees in criminal law cases, and the hollowing out of the tribunal systems etc. Austerity, vulnerability and justice aims to illuminate the utility and purpose of vulnerability theory and set it in the context of Wales’ fragile, post-industrial communities and the exciting possibilities presented by its devolved legislative capacity.