• 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.

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More books
Paranoid Parenting (second edition)

Paranoid Parenting (second edition)

Ever since Frank Furedi has drawn attention to the issue of ‘paranoid parenting’ this problem has gained widespread recognition from mothers and fathers and policy makers. This new edition argues that if anything – in recent years parenting has become more paranoid.

Paranoid Parenting is an important book that shows how parental fears have been stoked and families harmed. It ought to be read by every sensible individual interested in regaining a sane viewpoint that advances children’s well being. If you want to understand why adults act like children and children act like adults, in short if you want to understand why raising children today is harder than ever before, read this book.

Every day there is a warning about your children. Everything is dangerous; cot, babysitters, school, supermarket and park. We are told that children’s health safety and welfare and constantly at risk. Based on sociological research as well as dozens of interviews, this book will bolster your confidence in your own judgments and enable you to bring up self-assured, imaginative, capable children.

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Invitation to Terror

Invitation to Terror

Unlike in previous wars and conflicts, today our sense of terror precedes and extends beyond acts of terrorism. Official reaction is driven by a narrative of fear that invites us to regard terrorism as incomprehensible, senseless and beyond meaning. Such a response based on confusion authorises acts of speculation and fantasy as legitimate forms of threat assessment. This dramatisation of security transmits a sense of helplessness that inadvertently offers society’s enemies an invitation to be terrorised.

Furedi believes that we lack an intellectual framework for confronting the fear of terrorism. The language we use betrays confusion about the threat we face and therefore undermines our capacity to engage with it. Those who pose the question of ‘Why do they hate us?’ are often unsure of who ‘they’ are. Even more unsettling is the realisation that many of us are less than certain about who ‘we’ are. In this startling and original book Frank Furedi engages with some of the most fundamental questions confronting society today.

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Where Have All the Intellectuals Gone?: Confronting 21st Century Philistinism

Where Have All the Intellectuals Gone?

The Intellectual is an endangered species. In place of such figures as Bertrand Russell, Raymond Williams or Hannah Arendt - people with genuine learning, breadth of vision and a concern for public issues - we now have only facile pundits, think-tank apologists, and spin doctors. In the age of the knowledge economy, we have somehow managed to combine the widest ever participation in higher education with the most dumbed-down of cultures. In this urgent and passionate book, Frank Furedi explains the essential contribution of intellectuals both to culture and to democracy - and why we need to recreate a public sphere in which intellectuals and the general public can talk to each other again.

The first edition of this book met with urgent and volatile views – both in support and opposition to Furedi’s argument. In this second edition, he offers a candid and hard-hitting response to his critics.

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Politics of Fear

Politics of Fear

The terms “left” and “right” pervade all our discussions of politics. But do they mean anything any more? And is it really satisfactory to reduce all our political debate to these two terms? This book shows how contemporary and recent developments, including the Cold War, the Culture Wars and Third Way-type managerialism, have created the need for a new conception of politics with an adequate conception of humanity - one that “remoralises” politics by taking humans seriously, recognises the centrality of morality and discussions of right and wrong, and utilises our imaginations. The book proposes a new, and inevitably controversial, humanist politics to escape the trap of 20th century political ideology.

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Therapy Culture: Cultivating Vulnerability in an Uncertain Age

Therapy Culture

Therapy Culture explores the powerful influence of therapeutic imperative in Anglo-American societies. In recent decades virtually every sphere of life has become subject to a new emotional culture. Professor Furedi suggests that the recent cultural turn toward the realm of the emotions coincides with a radical redefinition of personhood. Increasingly vulnerability is presented as the defining feature of people’s psychology. Terms like people ‘at risk’, ‘scarred for life’ or ‘emotional damage’ evoke a unique sense of powerlessness.

Furedi questions the widely accepted thesis that the therapeutic turn represents an enlightened shift towards emotions. He claims that therapeutic culture is primarily about imposing a new conformity through the management of people’s emotions. Through framing the problem of everyday life through the prism of emotions, therapeutic culture incites people to feel powerless and ill. Drawing on developments in popular culture, political and social life, Furedi provides a path-breaking analysis of the therapeutic turn.

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