immobilisation, but very concretely about
agency. Claims of vulnerability can translate to claims to agency and voice,
Vulnerability as a political language
but these claims can have completely oppositional political consequences,
depending on who is making them.
In this book we interrogate the tensions, complexities, and paradoxes
of vulnerability in and through the media, particularly in feminist, queer,
and anti-racist mediacultures and debates about the production, use, and
meanings of media. Our aim is, in particular, to make sense of the new
The power of vulnerability interrogates the new language of vulnerability that has emerged in feminist, queer and anti-racist debates about the production, use and meanings of media. The book investigates the historical legacies and contemporary forms and effects of this language. In today’s media culture, traumatic first-person or group narratives have popular currency, mobilising affect from compassion to rage to gain cultural visibility and political advantage. In this context, vulnerability becomes a kind of capital, a resource or an asset that can and has been appropriated for various groups and purposes in public discourses, activism as well as cultural institutions. Thus, politics of representation translates into politics of affect, and the question about whose vulnerability counts as socially and culturally legible and acknowledged. The contributors of the book examine how vulnerability has become a battleground; how affect and vulnerability have turned into a politicised language for not only addressing but also obscuring asymmetries of power; and how media activism and state policies address so-called vulnerable groups. While the contributors investigate the political potential as well as the constraints of vulnerability for feminist, queer and antiracist criticism, they also focus on the forms of agency and participation vulnerability can offer.
Reading practices and participation in digital and medieval media
medieval and mediaculture can engage with connections between
historically distant moments and works. As Eileen Joy and Myra
Seaman say of studies that read the past through the present, such
approaches ‘reveal mentalities and social customs that persist over
long durations of time, as well as certain sensual particularities
unique to their respective times of production and reception’.15
The digital and the medieval may here be separated by more than
five hundred years, but the uniqueness of one period can help identify and extend our understanding of the uniqueness of
Geoffrey Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde and John Lydgate’s Troy Book
, Lydgate also seeks to ensure the
integrity of his text and its reputation along with his own, but he
instead turns to his broad community of non-professional readers.
Situating Chaucer, Lydgate, and Norton within the discourse
of open and closed access asserts connection between the preand post-print mediacultures. The analogues between medieval
emendation invitations and modern editorial practices provide an
alternative way to consider associational, rather than chronological,
narratives of book history.
Participatory reading in late-medieval England