Frank Furedi is a sociologist and social commentator. He was formerly Professor of Sociology at the University of Kent in Canterbury.
Since the late 1990s, Frank has been widely cited about his views on why Western societies find it so difficult to engage with risk and uncertainty. He has published widely about controversies relating to issues such as health, parenting children, food and new technology. His book Invitation To Terror; Expanding the Empire of the Unknown (2007) explores the way in which the threat of terrorism has become amplified through the ascendancy of precautionary thinking. It develops the arguments contained in two previous books, Culture of Fear (2002) and Paranoid Parenting (2001). Both of these works investigate the interaction between risk consciousness and perceptions of fear, trust relations and social capital in contemporary society.
Frank has also written extensively about issues to do with education and cultural life. His book, Wasted: Why Education Is Not Educating (2009) deals with the influence of the erosion of adult authority on schooling. On Tolerance (2011) offers a restatement of the importance of this concept for an open society. Authority: A Sociological History (2013) examines how the modern world has become far more comfortable with questioning authority than with affirming it.
Frank is committed to promoting the ideals of a humanist education and his writings on higher education are devoted to affirming the value of the liberal arts. His forthcoming book is titled Power Of Reading: From Socrates to Twitter and will be published by Bloomsbury in October 2015. The book outlines the case for a liberal humanist conception of a culture of reading.
At present he is engaged in a research project that explores the history of the relationship between the problem of identity and the difficulty that western society has in engaging with issues pertaining to morality. His work has as its focus on the process of socialisation and intergenerational relations.
Furedi’s studies on the problem of morality run in parallel with his exploration of the problem of cultural authority. Since his Authority, A Sociological History(Cambridge University Press 2013) he has published a study a study The First World War: Still No End In Sight – which interprets this event as the precursor of today’s Culture Wars. His study, Populism And The Culture Wars In Europe: the conflict of values between Hungary and the EU, discusses the sociological implications of the tension between populists and anti-populist political currents. His forthcoming book, Why We Need Borders seeks to explain the significance that physical borders and symbolic boundaries have for providing communities with meaning.
Frank’s books and articles offer an authoritative yet lively account of key developments in contemporary cultural life. Using his insights as a professional sociologist, he has produced a series of agenda-setting books that have been widely discussed in the media. His books have been translated into 13 languages.
Frank regularly comments on radio and television. He has appeared on Newsnight, Sky News and BBC News, Radio Four’s Today programme, and a variety of other radio television shows. Internationally, he has been interviewed by the media in Australia, Canada, the United States, Poland, Holland, Belgium, Brazil, and Germany. His articles have been published in New Scientist, the Guardian, the Independent, the Financial Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Daily Express, the Daily Mail, the Wall Street Journal, the Independent on Sunday, India Today, L’Espresso, The Times, The Sunday Times, the Observer, the Sunday Telegraph, the Globe and Mail (Toronto), the Christian Science Monitor, the Times Higher Education Supplement, spiked, the Times Literary Supplement, Harvard Business Review, Die Welt and Die Zeit, among others.