The notion of 'vulnerability' is now a prominent motif in social policy in the UK and beyond, with important implications for those deemed 'vulnerable'. Yet the effects of recalibrating welfare and criminal justice processes on the basis of vulnerability often escape attention. This distinctive book draws together lived experiences of vulnerability with academic and practical applications of the concept, exploring the repercussions of a 'vulnerability zeitgeist' in UK policy and practice. Through a focus on the voices and perspectives of 'vulnerable' young people and the professionals who support them, it questions how far the rise of vulnerability serves the interests of disadvantaged citizens. Illuminating where support shades into more controlling practices, the book is important reading for scholars, students and policy-makers interested in exclusion, precariousness, deviance and youth.
"This insightful and timely book by Kate Brown is an excellent addition to new, critical, qualitative research that explores and questions key issues in social policy." Rob MacDonald, Teesside University
"A really illuminating book on the contentious notion of vulnerability, and it should be read, debated and brought to bear on service design and development." Research, Policy and Planning
“Innovative, beautifully written, well researched and eloquently argued. Finally a book that subjects the concept of ‘vulnerability’ to robust academic scrutiny, particularly in terms of the rise of its use to justify almost any type of intervention with children and young people. A must read for anyone interested in young people and social policy.” Jo Phoenix, Leicester University
"Through a careful, theoretically rigorous analysis, Brown interrogates policy directives and practices that have seemingly championed the rights and needs of vulnerable citizens." Journal of Children and Poverty
"Brown's central focus is an analysis of the life stories of vulnerable young people...what the book does brilliantly is to give them a voice." Times Higher Education
"This essential book offers a groundbreaking study of the lived experience of vulnerability and its increasing importance to welfare and criminal justice systems, exploring fundamental questions of deservingness, human agency, care, governance and social control." John Flint, University of Sheffield
"A unique and compelling account of the implications of a ‘vulnerability zeitgeist’ and an important contribution to an area of public policy that is not as benign as it can appear." Kenneth McLaughlin, Manchester Metropolitan University