Just Emergencies Episode 14: Vulnerability as Layers – Vulnerability Part 6

Layers of Vulnerability

In Episode 14 of Just Emergenices ‘Vulnerability as Layers,’ Professor Florencia Luna discusses her conception of layers of vulnerability.

Instead of approaching vulnerability through the lens of a taxonomy, Professor Luna argues that the metaphor of ‘layers’ of vulnerability captures the flexibility of dynamism of how vulnerability presents in and interacts with the real world.


‘I think we have to stay in tune with the layers and allow ourselves to this dynamism. And I think this is very difficult: we like taxonomies, we like to think that things are put in order and that we can rank and they stay like that: orderly classified. Reality and vulnerability are not like that.’

In the episode, Professor Luna explores howlayers of vulnerability can stack on top of and reinforce each other, and how examining these layers – and their triggering conditions – can help inform public policy.

Listen to the full episode and read the transcripts of ‘Episode 14: Vulnerability as Layers – Vulnerability Part 6’.

Links and Resources

Phillips, T, ‘Argentina legalises abortion in landmark moment for women’s rights‘, (The Guardian, 30 December 2020).

McMahon, D.E., et al.,Global resource shortages during COVID-19: Bad news for low-income countries‘, (2020) PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 14(7).

Luna, F., ‘Identifying and evaluating layers of vulnerability – a way forward‘, (2018) Developing World Bioethics, 26(6).

Luna, F., & Vanderpoel, S., ‘Not the Usual Suspects: Addressing Layers of Vulnerability‘ (2013) Bioethics, 27(6).

Luna, F, ‘Elucidating the Concept of Vulnerability: Layers Not Labels‘, (2009) International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics, 2(1).

Levine, C, ‘The concept of vulnerability in disaster research‘, (20005) Journal of Traumatic Stress, 17(5).

Levine, C, et al., ‘The Limitations of “Vulnerability” as a Protection for Human Research Participants‘, (2004) The American Journal of Bioethics, 4(3).


‘Just Emergencies’ is produced and edited by Rebecca Richards and made with funding from the Wellcome Trust.

Our intro song is ‘The sun comes up, I come down’ by Silicon Transmitter.

Our outro song is ‘Surge and Swell’ by Pictures of the Floating World.

Both are available under an Attribution-Noncommerical-ShareAlike3.0 Creative Commons License from Free Music Archive.

Image by Adrien Converse on Unsplash.