“Are you vulnerable because you’re female?” new Gender, Tech & Law Session at VUB held by Gianclaudio Malgieri

Professor Gianclaudio Malgieri is invited as speaker at the next “Gender, Technology & Law” Sessions of the Research Centres (Law, Science, Technology and Society & Fundamental Rights Center) of the Vrije Universiteit Brussels. He will talk about:

 “Are You a Vulnerable Data Subject Because You’Re Female?” – Reflections on Data Subjects’ Vulnerability from the Feminist Perspective. 

The session will be online and will take place on 15.12.2020, 12-13.:30 Brussels time.

The sessions are free to attend but registration is required. To register, please follow this linkShould you face any difficulties with your registration, please contact me or send an e-mail to Olga Gkotsopoulou (LSTS) .

Abstract of the Session:

“Who is the data subject?” is a question that few data protection scholars tried to reply so far. Apart from formalistic replies, the question implies some deeper analyses: “Do the “characteristics” of the data subjects matter when interpreting the GDPDR principles, rights and accountability duties? Should we consider some special categories of data subjects?”. And – more importantly – “who is a vulnerable data subject?”

The notion of subject’s vulnerability is an emerging topic in many different fields. While in the data protection field the discussion is not mature yet, we could get important inspirations from other fields. One area of inspiration is political philosophy and, in particular, the feminist approach and gender studies.

We can observe a real intellectual polarization in those fields: from one side the universalist of approach of many gender scholars (ButlerFinemanDodds, McKenzie), from the other side the particularistic approach of several other bioethicists (ColeGoodin). According to the first approach, every human is vulnerable, and any additional “label” of vulnerability can lead only to stigmatisation and “pathogenic vulnerability”. According to the second approach, some subjects are more vulnerable than others (in particular, women are more vulnerable – i.e. subject to adverse effects – than men in many contexts: workplace, education, etc.).

A third way might be the “layered” theory of a feminist bioethicist (Luna): where the contextual and relational (even temporary) nature of vulnerability is a proposed solution. But how to put it in practice? This is an open issue that the seminar will try to address in the follow-up discussion.

This session is part of the Gender, Technologies & Law Sessions, a collaborative initiative of the Law, Science, Technology and Society Research Group (LSTS) and the Fundamental Rights Centre (FRC) at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. The initiative aims at investigating the intersections between gender, technology and law through an interdisciplinary approach. Outcomes of these investigations but also more explorative debates and open questions are presented in a series of seminars, both by internal and external speakers. For more information on the series, see here.


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