How to create a space for reflecting and/or taking a critical standpoint within the “time phantom,” a phrase borrowed from Ivana Sajko,1Sajko, Ivana. “Nijemo preživljavanje” [“Silent Survival”]. Frakcija, magazin za izvedbene umjetnosti, vol. 5, 1997, pp. 76 – 77. which eerily hovers over our lives, sucking up the vitality of possible choices? Is a text on the “corona situation” just a minimal gesture of courage, a mark of the position or initiation into a “new uncertainty” that only underscores that what hyperreality and its omnipresence in media attests to every day, that being life without a template, a future without a template and/or a signpost? Is this publishable collaborative voice, I wonder, nothing more than a mere link for engagement in conversation in order to allow, even for just a moment, the illusion of joint re-subjectivisation because the experience of voice as described by Mladen Dolar2Dolar, Mladen. Glas i ništa više [A Voice and Nothing More]. Translated by Anera Ryznar, Disput, 2009. deeply affects the manner in which we generally act as subjects, or is this an attempt to clarify some of the accumulated anxieties? This is not apparent at first glance.
The moment of publishing this article at a time of a sharp increase in the number of coronavirus infections in Croatia and the world already had a concrete (ten-month) past preceding it, and records on the number of deaths and infections go in step with new, rigorous behaviours at both micro- and macro-levels. Globally, the number of deaths from COVID-19 has exceeded one million one hundred thousand, but experts are still trying to understand the mortality rate, the key measure of a pandemic, specifically the percentage of people infected with the pathogen who die from the disease and its implications.
The incredulity of each of us by the new data processed within the personal framing of resilience in different spaces, from private ones which isolation and self-isolation fill with unpredictable meanings to public ones which are contaminated by numerous instructions or prohibitions that dictate the patterns of behaviour and places of exclusion/inclusion, only intensifying discomfort, forms the current provisional life. Everyday change as an amplifier of uncertainty, data mutation, virus mutation, having little or no knowledge of the correlation between genetic self-destruction of the virus and the human immune system within the population, fuels internal mechanisms of human receptivity to the indisputability of authority and its professional order. Our tacit adherence to obedience, particularly the obedience required by the “corona situation,” and the absence of a different voice, that of an autonomous subject, citizen, for a while created an illusion of coherence of us as a community of human beings, based on the unquestionable faith in the validity of the profession (medical science), but also on the presumptive ontological clasp that curls anxiety, fear, and panic with promise, hope, possible solution, and/or deliverance. Consent to a voluntary zone of suspension that, functioning like a naturalised norm, occurred immediately upon the establishment of pivotal institutions of political and professional power, while the illusion of trust in the hypothetically “pure” field of medical expertise wrapped in a performative of authority completely faded over time.
The “corona situation” not only pushed us to the edge of the abyss by intensifying fears, insecurities, and anxiety but by sharpening the critical lenses through which we observe and perceive the world, it confronted us with a range of philosophical, existential and ethical phenomena, doubts and questions. Vulnerability is undoubtedly one of them. All the while, feelings of physical vulnerability, physical injury, emotional fragility, and uncertainty at the individual level intertwine with those at the societal level, triggering various modalities of affective intentionality.
Being in a locked time from February/March to September 2020, I experienced many of these feelings, but what impacted me the most and occupied my attention was exploring the layers of human vulnerability caused by the presence of the coronavirus and its deciphering effects in correlation with human relations and within their networks: How are vulnerabilities “activated,” how are they displaced or suppressed within certain situations, what initiates them, how do we recognise them, what do they signal, what transformation or destabilisation of known signifiers is in question, what eludes us in observation?
How can vulnerability even be defined?
Before turning to the question of its definition, an important question to ask is: What is the contextual, societal, and geopolitical time within which we talk about vulnerability, the vulnerability of the human being as a subject, the vulnerability of the human community as a subject, society as a subject?
Rosi Braidotti, a feminist theorist and philosopher, in “A Theoretical Framework for the Critical Posthumanities”3Braidotti, Rosi. “A Theoretical Framework for the Critical Posthumanities.” Theory, Culture & Society, vol. 36, no. 6, 4 May 2019, pp. 31 – 61. SAGE Journals, doi.org/10.1177/0263276418771486. Accessed 28 Aug. 2020. speaks of the posthuman era, more specifically of a time that on the trail of the Guattarian theoretical matrices characterises the Anthropocene “as a multi-layered posthuman predicament that includes the environmental, socio-economic, and affective and psychic dimensions of our ecologies of belonging,”4Braidotti, Rosi. “A Theoretical Framework for the Critical Posthumanities.” Ibid., p. 32. but also the power of cartographies as a conceptual off-shoot of neo-materialism. On the one hand, in the neo-materialist reality, according to her findings, the exchanges of different actors, including non-human [inhuman] actors and technological media, occur in accelerating rhythm, while on the other hand, the interpretation of the influence of complex processes on the formation of subject(s) and their interdependence requires a different approach to what is human(ity) [human(ness)] and what is present. While the paradox of the human [humane] on the occurrence level is read in the simultaneous overexposure and disappearance of what human(ity) [human(ness)] is, the paradox of the latter concerns the fact that the power of the present never completely coincides with that which is here and now. Such synchronisation is never complete because “in a neo-materialist vital system, all human and non-human entities are nomadic subjects-in-process, in perpetual motion,”5Braidotti, Rosi. “A Theoretical Framework for the Critical Posthumanities.” Ibid., p. 32. which is immanent to the vitality of the self-regulating order. The reference point of Braidotti’s analysis thus becomes the world in all its opening, infinite, interdependent, transnational, multisexual, trans-species, and transcendent streams of becoming. It should be noted that nomadic subjects, or “becoming-subjects,” is a phrase that Braidotti theoretically elaborated back in 1994 in her book Nomadic Subjects: Embodiment and Sexual Difference in Contemporary Feminist Theory.6Braidotti, Rosi. Nomadic Subjects: Embodiment and Sexual Difference in Contemporary Feminist Theory. Columbia University Press, 1994. Not only is it, therefore, difficult to grasp the end of what is “now” in the present time, but we are already facing this problem within the creative actualisation of the virtual, and this “interplay between the present as actual and the present as virtual spells the rhythms of subject formation.”7Braidotti, Rosi. “A Theoretical Framework for the Critical Posthumanities.” Ibid., p. 37.
If, on the basis of the critical posthuman theory advocated by the author, one speaks critically about vulnerable cosmopolitanism or the abstract pan-humanism, which in its new, conservative-religious form responds to a possible apocalyptic scenario of the human future with: “We are in this together!”8Braidotti, Rosi. “A Theoretical Framework for the Critical Posthumanities.” Ibid., p.36. When stepping out of the humanistic-anthropocentric position, one should again ask: “Who are we?” Who are we, whose universal humanity in the last century has been unmasked from several viewpoints (feminist/post-colonial/ecological/ethical)? Who are we, who unscrupulously subjugate other living species along the hierarchical-exploitative axis? Who are we, who, despite experiential differences (socio-spatial, class, gender), have been “united” for several months around a common vulnerable status? Agreeing all the while to dispossession and (self-)supervision, to going along with indulgence towards the directive instructions of state, political, and/or medical-professional bodies, to the clamour of wired hegemonic discourse of the hybrid combination of profession and politics. Is this just an existential fear conditioned by a common external, hovering threat, or is it a fundamental helplessness that seeks new universal hiding places? Or? There are so many questions and individual worries.
Nevertheless, it is quite clear that radical forms of self-sufficiency have been completely shaken; the patterns of comprehensibility reduced to necessary instructions and covert protective mechanisms while COVID-19, this new strain of virus whose origin has not been precisely determined, a mutating virus on the border of inanimate nature and the living world, firmly holds us together in its pandemic expansion.
How to define vulnerability, which discussions are taking place, and what are the controversies? Even though it is a concept that resists clear definition, vulnerability in the philosophical sense (J. E. Hackett, 2020)9Hackett, J. Edward. “Three Philosophical Types of Vulnerability.” The Horizon and the Fringe, 1 June 2018, thehorizonandthefringe.wordpress.com/2018/06/01/three-philosophical-types-of-vulnerability/. Accessed 10 Sep. 2020. is a basic precondition of our moral experience since it includes the individual as a living body and his/her positioning in relation to the values intended by its affective intentionality. But one cannot overlook the fact that our weakness and fragility arise from interdependence (Engster, 2019;10Engster, Daniel. “Care Ethics, Dependency, and Vulnerability.” Ethics and Social Welfare, vol. 13, no. 2, 2019, pp. 100 – 114. Nussbaum, 200411Nussbaum, Martha. Frontiers of Justice: Disability, Nationality, Species Membership. Harvard University Press, 2006.; Nussbaum Martha. “Beyond the Social Contract: Capabilities and Global Justice.” Oxford Development Studies, vol. 32, no. 1, 2004, pp. 3 – 18.) and of our social and intermediate touches, cultural connections, situational and contextual facts, and changes. Aware of the different spaces of our vulnerability, philosopher J. Edward Hackett12Hackett, J. Edward. Ibid. speaks of three types of vulnerability that can be observed within a multilevel sequence: a) bodily; b) vulnerability caused by intrapersonal relationships with others at the cultural and institutional level; and c) nihilistic vulnerability which occurs at the highest level of spiritual feelings (whether religious or secular) and is associated with the highest level of suffering. The first two types of vulnerabilities are important for this reflection. While bodily vulnerability supports the vital feelings and values of an individual, the second-level vulnerability, which he calls fragility, is deeply ontological. Occurring in the space of intersubjectivity and interdependency, in connection with the effects of social interactions, it also leads to depersonalisation and new personalisation, and by exposing the moral systems we internalise, it is subject to moral judgments.
Vulnerability has significant implications for the ways we judge ourselves and others. I wonder in what direction this is happening today, and if we have moved from a temporary situation of tacit mutual “silence” in the subtext that the network of mutual care was built, and, after a few months, entered a zone of disturbed advertising, affective responsiveness, uncontrollability, deviation?
Within a situation of silence and a kind of shocking concealment in front of an invisible common “enemy”13Placing the virus in the figure of an “enemy” is problematic for several reasons, especially since it strikes the horizon of anthropocentrism, but that is not the subject of this text. in the first months, something began to develop which connected all of us. More precisely, it is as if by way of and through vulnerable bodies or bodies ready for a similar outcome around a possible infection, a type of unusual corporal-sensory unity, or internal “alliance in trouble,” a recognition of an unknown but threatening experience, began to form. It is this experience of embodiment, both individual and collective, that supports the view that subjectivity cannot be thought of “as existing in a vacuum, un-situated, nor as existing in isolation from the body”14Parkins, Wendy. “Protesting like a Girl: Embodiment, Dissent and Feminist Agency.” Feminist Theory, vol. 1, no. 1, 2000, pp. 59 – 78, p. 62. or separate from intentionality which is perceived by Merleau-Ponty as the “ability of the body to direct itself towards, establish linkages with or act and locate itself in relation to a world.”15Parkins, Wendy. Ibid., p. 62; See: Merleau-Ponty, Maurice. The Phenomenology of Perception. Routledge, 1962.
The coronavirus, in the newly established limbo of exteriority/interiority, returns us to the material status of our body, that deceptive subject-object, the one without an implicit secure basis, protection or consciousness, but at the same time crucial for self-sustainability. Living one’s body in the format of necessary self-preservation and survival to protect it from another, possibly threatening body, along with “voyeuristic” observation and listening to its concrete “destiny” tied to the plural corporeality within the purported human zone of movement (alive/living/surviving/still alive/non-living), is not only an anxious but an ethically impossible requirement. Because the forcibly learned self-control of our individual bodies to which we had to adapt in a sudden rush is, in essence, the control of vulnerable and already wounded bodies, restrained with their vulnerability, bodies that spill over each other in every (post-)traumatic situation, and thus deceptive and temporary.
Does this mean that the coronavirus has evoked intimacy among humans on a completely different (physical-sensory, e.g.) level, or levels irrespective of “social distance,” that unsuitable functional variant? And how else to interpret that “voyeuristic” connection, that continuous co-existence of human beings through depersonalised and dehumanised orientation statistics regarding the global “corona situation” (one such example is the Worldometer COVID-19 website) which strain our impulses daily by disciplining our bodily anchors, stifling the mobility of our bodies, increasingly creating a space of unbearable common intimacy. It is this syntagm that indicates the ambiguity of such closeness because we are made accomplices and captives against our will in a human crater with an uncertain-predictive scenario, and simultaneously demonstrates the aversion towards such public human generalisation.
Why do we think that we should unquestioningly cling to the official “ideology” of the medical narrative and the system which supports it? What are the places of insecurity that keep us bound to such a collective physicality or to the terror of intimacy with another, foreign body, foreign bodies? The bodily alliance in public discourse thus appears not only as a sign of their (in)visibility within the contemporary pandemic apocalypse or a vague register of their bodily life and non-realisation through the vectors of biomedical power and its pact with politics, but it also correlates to projections of the uncertain, vulnerable and/or vulnerable life in the future, and which speak from the subject of an unfathomable place.
If we overlook the complex residue of inconceivable uncertainty of the future, the first thing we can ask ourselves is: Is there a possibility of some autonomous choice or subversion within this newly encoded intimacy, or is there room within public discourse for Derrida’s “inner forum,” a place that, in spite of an external common threat, refuses to listen, refuses to relate to it? Are we invited to speak?
What has increasingly been of interest to vulnerability theorists since the mid-1980s is the constitutive vulnerability and operability of this concept in the social context and the extent to which vulnerability policy is important in addressing the problems of those who experience different types of vulnerability. In the article entitled “All of Us Are Vulnerable, But Some Are More Vulnerable than Others: The Political Ambiguity of Vulnerability Studies, an Ambivalent Critique,” Alyson Cole16Cole, Alyson. “All of Us Are Vulnerable, But Some Are More Vulnerable than Others: The Political Ambiguity of Vulnerability Studies, an Ambivalent Critique.” Critical Horizons, A Journal of Philosophy and Social Theory, vol. 17, no. 2, 2 June 2016, pp. 260 – 277. Taylor and Francis Online, doi.org/10.1080/14409917.2016.1153896. Accessed 20 Aug. 2020. argues that vulnerability is often a type of metalanguage serving to conceptualise injustice in the world and politicise the injuries it impregnates or encourages. Recognising the constitutive vulnerability of us as human beings helps to articulate concrete injustices, although any generalisation of vulnerability, according to Cole, blurs the distinction between specific types and causes of vulnerability and between those who are vulnerable and those who are injured. Therefore, some theorists define vulnerability as a term contrary to victimisation, especially in relation to neoliberal definitions of victims and victimisation. However, according to Cole’s interpretation, it is important to not only consider the political ambiguity of vulnerability given the contrast between the ontologically vulnerable and the injured along all axes but also to consider how vulnerability policy helps us to better understand whose vulnerability is at issue in particular circumstances; whether it is a vulnerability caused by neocolonial violence, new racialisation, sexual/gender oppression, or trauma related to a particular disease or infection. It is clear that the meaning of specific vulnerabilities, along with lived experience and contextuality, is important in articulating specific injustices.
The ethical arguments regarding vulnerability used as templates by authors within philosophical and feminist debates and biomedical ethics are the same as those stated above. For example, beyond the discussion of the vulnerable nature of the individual, which in Western-centric ethics is most often associated with the imposition of self-sufficiency, the will to power, and/or the ideal of autonomy, the key question affirmed by the ethics of vulnerability is what is the basis of moral responsibility to protect vulnerable beings and how to establish this responsibility which, acknowledging contextuality and interdependence, arises from the demands of justice? Adela Cortina and Jesús Conill,17Cortina, Adela and Conill, Jesús. “Ethics of Vulnerability.” Human Dignity of the Vulnerable in the Age of Rights: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, edited by Aniceto Masferrer and Emilio García-Sánchez, Springer International Publishing, 2016, pp. 45 – 61. referring to the views of Williams, Nagel, MacIntyre, and Nussbaum, respond to this question in the text “Ethics of Vulnerability” by discussing the ethics of care, ethics of responsibility, and ethics of cordial reason.
These approaches to vulnerability suggest that it can only be interpreted multidimensionally and in connection with various factors and aspects (social, psychological, economic, environmental, institutional, among others) and in a dynamic code with respect to transformations over time and necessary contingencies.18Bankoff, Greg, et al. Mapping Vulnerability: Disasters, Development and People. Routledge, 2004. Even though there is no consensus among scientists around the definition of vulnerability, it is most commonly associated with some psychological characteristics of the individual such as anxiety, fear, uneasiness, fragility, helplessness, passivity, emotional or social isolation, addiction; or with various situations of social violations, injustice, and catastrophes (violence, poverty, climate catastrophes, underdevelopment, accidents, death situations, e.g.); as well as with certain social groups; denoting by this concept, above all, the entire spectrum of negative or limiting circumstances or conditions important for quality human life. Two places in that respect attract attention and are the subject of critical insights. Firstly, it is a critique of designating certain persons, or certain social groups, as “vulnerable.” Some theorists rightly point to the fact that by insisting on the dichotomy between vulnerable and invulnerable social groups, a very strict social hierarchy and division (gender, age, class, etc.) is produced, and that these groups are labelled and stereotyped by fixing social identities this way, wherein the cause of the problem remains unrecognised, and the possibility of change prevented. Moreover, this reinforces various paternalisms and controls (institutional, political, medical-expert, masculine, etc.) over groups that are labelled as “vulnerable.” Using the example of women’s vulnerability, or the vulnerability of women as a specific gender group, it has been shown that this type of paternalisation has been used throughout history as an excuse, an institutional-patriarchal cover for maintaining sexual/gender, racial, and economic violence against women.19Cole, Alyson. Ibid.; Crenshaw, Kimberlé. “Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence against Women of Color.” Stanford Law Review, vol. 43, no. 6, 1991, pp. 1241 – 1299, www.jstor.org/stable/1229039. Accessed 5 June 2020; Nixon, Jennifer. “Domestic Violence and Women with Disabilities: Locating the Issue on the Periphery of Social Movements.” Disability & Society, vol. 24, no. 1, 2009, pp. 77 – 89, www.researchgate.net/publication/240512628. Accessed 8 Aug. 2020. Secondly, how to publicly address diversity with regard to specific experiences of vulnerability, being aware of the fact that the circumstances of vulnerability are uneven and lived experiences of violence, trauma, illness, or oppression, as A. Cole20Cole, Alyson. Ibid. rightly notes, referring to Sarah Ahmed, are often in the background within Western narratives and unevenly and unfairly distributed.
Florencia Luna, an Argentine philosopher who specialises in bioethics, emphasises three assumptions important for understanding vulnerability: first, there are multiple factors or sources of vulnerability; second, they are deeply related to the context; third, vulnerability is not the property of certain research teams or a characteristic of certain groups per se, and in this sense, it is inappropriate to use this term21Luna, Florencia. “Identifying and evaluating layers of vulnerability – a way forward.” Developing World Bioethics, vol. 19, no. 2, 30 July 2019, pp. 86 – 95, p. 88. Wiley Online Library, doi.org/10.1111/dewb.12206. Accessed 15 Aug. 2020. to denote or stereotype certain subpopulation groups. In addition to the fact that one person or a certain social group may experience different types of vulnerability, a serious problem of this type of identification (“vulnerable as vulnerable”) is the confining of people to that position without the possibility of progress and consequently, the inability to destabilise or transform existing social relations and divisions. Therefore, the author, revising some of her original views on vulnerability, revises the very term that she previously used to denote vulnerability. Instead of the “metaphor of labels,”22Luna, Florencia. “Elucidating the Concept of Vulnerability. Layers not Labels.” International Journal of Feminist Approaches of Bioethics, vol. 2, no. 1, 2009, pp. 121 – 139. the author in her text “Identifying and evaluating layers of vulnerability – a way forward,” introduces the term “cascade-vulnerabilities”23Luna, Florencia. “Identifying and evaluating layers of vulnerability – a way forward.” Ibid., p. 91. to not only relieve the burden of identity fixation but to highlight the interaction of different vulnerability features while, at the same time, pointing out that vulnerabilities in one reality or situation can trigger or create vulnerabilities in another. With different types of vulnerability (economic, emotional, cognitive, physical, communication, etc.), the cascade layers to which the author draws attention can be extremely harmful because they have a “domino effect” and can cause damage on several levels. Likewise, for her, vulnerability can only be understood as contextual, which means that vulnerabilities can only be understood by examining the individual in context, and relative,24Luna, Florencia and Vanderpoel Sheryl. “Not the usual suspects: addressing layers of vulnerability.” Bioethics, vol. 27, no. 6, 2013, pp. 325 – 332. since layers and features of vulnerability arise from the interaction between individual features and the features of their environment, creating one unbreakable context-dependent vulnerability.
“One insight that injury affords is that there are others out there on whom my life depends, people I do not know and may never know,”25Butler, Judith. Neizvjesni život: moć žalovanja i nasilja [Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence]. Translated by Brina Tus, Centar za ženske studije i Fakultet političkih znanosti sveučilišta u Zagrebu, 2017, p. 12. states philosopher and feminist Judith Butler, emphasising the importance of our interdependence in the interpretation of vulnerable life in the context of contemporary war events. It is this primordial dependence on anonymous others serving as the template for the creation of ontological (constitutive) vulnerability that, following Levinas’ understanding of ethics,26Levinas, Emmanuel. Ethics and Infinity. Dialogues of Emmanuel Levinas and Philippe Nemo. Translated by Richard A. Cohen, Duquesne University Press, 1985. invites us to not only think through the prism of the vulnerable life of another but also points to the ethics of responsibility of the global community of human beings around solutions for warfare, climate catastrophes, injury, and violence. Levinas’ ethics is based on the cognition that each of us has a fundamental ethical responsibility for the other; responsibility which is in this sense radical and incalculable. It is precisely the vulnerability of the other that is the main concept of his ethics of responsibility, and the ethical demand of the other and openness to it appear as a place of primacy, as that which determines the ontological right of each of us to exist, as a requirement imposed upon the subject.
Is it possible to discern the present time of human enfoldedness by “corona trepidation” from this standpoint, does this type of threat encourage the ontological closeness of cooperation and recognition of human beings, or does it distance us on various axes and split us into human waiting rooms of uncertain, anticipatory plots?
In an effort to articulate vulnerability as a place of possible human encounter, and, following in the footsteps of Levinas’ conception of vulnerability as a common denominator of the gathering of human beings, Butler27Butler, Judith, Ibid., pp. 218 – 219. reaches for dual optics. On the one hand, it is necessary to be aware of vulnerability as an ontological immanence inherent in human beings, and on the other, when political violence produces multiple vulnerabilities and accumulated traumatic layers that they historically carry, it is necessary to establish different normative procedures for their recognition and identification.
Siegfried and Florian D. Zepf, in their text “Trauma and traumatic neurosis: Freud’s concepts revisited,”28Zepf, Siegfried and Florian Daniel Zepf. “Trauma and traumatic neurosis: Freud’s concepts revisited.” The International Journal of Psychoanalysis, vol. 89, no. 2, 28 June 2008, pp. 331 – 353. Wiley Online Library, doi.org/10.1111/j.1745 – 8315.2008.00038.x give a different insight into the interpretation of vulnerability. By explaining the vulnerable structure of people’s psychic integrity and its limitations, they remind us of Freud’s starting point, according to which “the term ‘trauma’ referred to a violent attack damaging the organism from the outside,”29Zepf, Siegfried and Florian Daniel Zepf. Ibid., p. 331. breaking through our “protective shield” against external stimuli or threats. Trauma occurs at the moment when the ability of the ego to maintain its internal security (secure ego) is fundamentally shaken and disturbed by an external threat, the consequences of which are the psychological breakdown accompanied by the development of traumatic neurosis. The vulnerable ego is overwhelmed by a danger it cannot predict, and its fragile self is exposed to many intrusive external sensors (actual, media, virtual, etc.) that compound its vulnerabilities.
In reflecting on the “corona situation” once more, a series of new questions arise, a series of deciphering demands are placed before us. Trauma, repetitive scenarios from lived experiences, immunisation processes, the absence or delay of meaningful solutions, human detachments, and retreats against invoked human closeness. What defence mechanisms are involved; what defence mechanisms do we have? How is autoimmunity created? What is decisive? Is it possible for autoimmunisation to be the site of a solution, or is it a case of where the “defence against an imagined external threat … turns out to be a defence against the defence: an autoimmune response?”30Drichel, Simone. “Towards a ‘radical acceptance of vulnerability:’ Postcolonialism and Deconstruction.” SubStance, vol. 42, no. 3, 2013, pp. 46 – 66, p. 50.
How to create a space of self-protective immunity against current and future viral infections but also against self-destructive autoimmunisation? Are resilient theories31Miller, Fiona, et al. “Resilience and Vulnerability: Complementary or Conflicting Concepts?” Ecology and Society, vol. 15, no. 3, 2010, pp. 1 – 25. enough, or should we return to the known networks of ontological supports and human imprints when facing the vulnerability of human lives in their fragile exposure?