• Frank Furedi
  • Frank Furedi
  • Sociologist, commentator and author
Latest
How Fear Works: Culture of Fear in the 21st Century
 

How Fear Works

Publisher’s blurb

In 1997, Frank Furedi published a book called Culture of Fear. It was widely acclaimed as perceptive and prophetic. Now Furedi returns to his original theme, as most of what he predicted has come true. In this new book, Furedi seeks to explain two interrelated themes: why has fear acquired such a morally commanding status in society today and how has the way we fear today changed from the way that it was experienced in the past? He explores key moments in the history of fear to help situate the workings of this emotion in contemporary society.

Furedi argues that one of the main drivers of the culture of fear is the unravelling of moral authority. Fear appears to provide a provisional solution to moral uncertainty and is, for that reason, embraced by a variety of interests, parties and individuals. Furedi predicts that until society finds a more positive orientation towards uncertainty, the politicisation of fear will flourish.

Fear has become a problem in its own right to the extent that people now use the term ‘culture of fear’ as an everyday idiom. It has become detached from its material and physical source and experienced as a secular version of a transcendental force. So now fear has become a perspective accepted throughout society. Furedi claims that this perspective has acquired a dominant status because in contrast to other options it appears to be singularly effective in influencing peoples behaviour. Society is trained to believe that the threats it faces are incalculable and cannot be controlled or regulated. The acceptance of this outlook has been paralleled by the cultivation of helplessness and passivity all this has resulted in a redefinition of personhood.

As a consequence we are constantly searching for new forms of security, both physical and ontological. What is the role of the media in promoting fear and who actually benefits from this culture of fear? These are some of the issues Furedi tackles and much more.

Buy this book from Amazon (UK).

Related articles

The paradox of our safety addiction

How the zero risk mentality breeds a culture of anxiety and a hunger for authority.

The campus culture of fear and its costs

Looking to protect “vulnerable” students, colleges and universities are chilling human relations and constricting intellectual inquiry.

Identity politics has conquered the Westminster bubble

The anti-Semitism / Islamophobia spat is another Culture War stand-off.