• Frank Furedi
  • Frank Furedi
  • Sociologist, commentator and author
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Populism and the European Culture Wars
 

Populism and the European Culture Wars

Concern and hostility towards populism has become a distinctive feature of contemporary political culture. In Europe such concerns are frequently directed at Eurosceptics, whose opposition to the European Union is often portrayed as a cultural crime. Ancient anti-democratic claims about the gullibility, ignorance and irrationality of the masses are frequently recycled through the anti-populist condemnation of people who vote the wrong way.

This book argues that the current outburst of anti-populist anxiety is symptomatic of a loss of faith in democracy and in the ability of the demos to assume the role of responsible citizens. Distrust of the people and of parliamentary sovereignty is reinforced by the concern that, on its own, liberal democracy lacks the normative foundation to inspire the loyalty and affection of ordinary citizens. Through focusing on the conflict between the European Union’s Commission and the Government of Hungary, this book explores contrasting attitudes towards national sovereignty, popular sovereignty and the question of tradition and the past as the main drivers of the culture war in Europe.

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What’s Happened to the University?

What's Happened to the University?

Publisher’s description

The radical transformation that universities are undergoing today is no less far-reaching than the upheavals that it experienced in the 1960s. However today, when almost 50 per cent of young people participate in higher education, what occurs in universities matters directly to the whole of society.

On both sides of the Atlantic curious and disturbing events on campuses has become a matter of concern not just for academics but also for the general public. What is one to make of the growing trend of banning speakers? What’s the meaning of trigger warnings, cultural appropriation, micro-aggression or safe spaces? And why are some students going around arguing that academic freedom is no big deal?

What’s Happened To The University? offers an answer to the questions of why campus culture is undergoing such a dramatic transformation and why the term moral quarantine refers to the infantilising project of insulating students from offence and a variety of moral harms.

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Power of Reading: From Socrates to Twitter

Power of Reading: From Socrates to Twitter

Publisher’s description:

Power of Reading, by eminent cultural and social historian Frank Furedi, is a unique, erudite and ground-breaking examination of the history of readers and their relationship with wider culture and society which will appeal to fans of Christopher Booker`s bestselling The Seven Basic Plots and John Gross’s seminal study, The Rise and Fall of the Man of Letters.

In this comprehensive history, Furedi explores the changing meanings attributed to the act of reading, from Socrates’s apprehensions about the impact of literacy on the individual to Cicero’s attempts to classify the readers of Ancient Rome to the awakening belief in the twentieth century that mass literacy was an indispensable skill for individuals attempting to make their way in the modern world.

Against this historic backdrop, Furedi crucially focuses on the culture of reading that prevails in the twenty-first century, questioning key beliefs such as that the internet damages our ability to digest information and that boys don’t read. Furedi’s book in also a call to arms. Taking a cue from George Steiner, Furedi argues vigorously for the restoration of the art of reading- every bit as important as the art of writing.

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First World War: Still No End in Sight

First World War: Still No End in Sight

That the conflicts unleashed by Great War did not end in 1918 is well known. World War II and the Cold War clearly constitute key moments in the drama that began in August 1914. This book argues that the battle of ideas which crystallised during the course of the Great War continue to the present. It claims that the disputes about lifestyles and identity - the Culture Wars of today -are only the latest expressions of a century long conflict.

There are many influences that contributed to the outbreak of World War One. One significant influence was the cultural tension and unease that disposed significant numbers of artists, intellectuals and young people to regard the War as an opportunity give meaning to their existence. Later these tensions merged with social unrest and expressed themselves through the new ideologies of the Left and the Right. While these ideologies have become exhausted the conflicts of culture persist to this date. That is why there is Still No End In Sight for the battle of ideas set in motion in August 1914.

Modern wars did not only lead to the loss of millions of lives. Wars also played a significant role in changing attitudes towards the political ideals of modern time. The Great War called into question the future of liberal democracy. It led to the emergence of radical ideologies, which were in turn discredited through the experience of the Second World War and the Cold War. The current Culture Wars have significantly eroded the status of the values associated with modernity.

Through exploring the battle of ideas set in motion in August 1914 - First World War: Still No End In Sight provides a framework for understanding the changing focus of political conflict from ideology to culture.

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Authority: A Sociological History

Authority: A Sociological History

Concern with authority is as old as human history itself. Eve’s sin was to challenge the authority of God by disobeying his rule. Frank Furedi explores how authority was contested in ancient Greece and given a powerful meaning in Imperial Rome. Debates about religious and secular authority dominated Europe through the Middle Ages and the Reformation. The modern world attempted to develop new foundations for authority - democratic consent, public opinion, science - yet Furedi shows that this problem has remained unresolved, arguing that today the authority of authority is questioned. This historical sociology of authority seeks to explain how the contemporary problems of mistrust and the loss of legitimacy of many institutions are informed by the previous attempts to solve the problem of authority. It argues that the key pioneers of the social sciences (Marx, Durkheim, Simmel, Tonnies and especially Weber) regarded this question as one of the principal challenges facing society.

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The Social Cost of Litigation

The Social Cost of Litigation

In The Social Cost of Litigation, Frank Furedi and Jennie Bristow show that far from increasing safety and accountability, the culture of litigation has resulted in significant costs to the quality of services, the experience of those who use them, and the role of professionals.

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