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Abstract

In this essay I develop the concept of vulnerability in order to argue for a more responsive state and a more egalitarian society. I argue that vulnerability is-and should be understood to be-universal and constant, inherent in the human condition. The vulnerability approach I propose is an alternative to traditional equal protection analysis; it is a "post-identity" inquiry in that it is not focused only on discrimination against defined groups, but concerned with privilege and favor conferred on limited segments of the population by the state and broader society through their institutions. As such, vulnerability analysis concentrates on the structures our society has and will establish to manage our common vulnerabilities. This approach has the potential to move us beyond the stifling confines of current discrimination-based models toward a more substantive vision of equality.

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