• 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).

Read more about this book

More books
Culture of Fear

Culture of Fear

(Updated edition published by Continuum, March 2002, first published April 1997.)

Fear has become an ever-expanding part of life in the West in the twenty-first century. We live in terror of disease, abuse, stranger danger, environmental devastation and terrorist onslaught. We are bombard with reports of new concerns for our safety and that of our children,and urged to take greater precautions and seek more protection. But compared to the past, or to the developing world, people in contemporary Western societies have much less familiarity with pain, suffering, debilitating disease and death. We actually enjoy an unprecedented level of personal safety.

When confronted with events like the destruction of the World Trade Centre, fear for the future is inevitable. But what happened on September 11th 2001 was in many ways an old fashioned act of terror, representing the destructive side of the human passions. Frank Furedi argues that the greater danger in our culture is the tendency to fear achievements representing a more constructive side of humanity. We panic about GM food, about genetic research, about the health dangers of mobile phones. The facts often fail to support the scare stories about new or growing risks to our health and safefy. Our obsession with theoretical risks is in danger of distracting society from dealing with the old-fashioned dangers that have always threatened our lives.

Buy this book from: Amazon (UK) | Amazon (USA)

Read more about this book

The Silent War

The Silent War

Racial identity is one of the defining characteristics of the 20th century. In this study, Frank Furedi traces the history of Western colonial racist ideology and its role in the subjugation of the peoples of the non-West. His central theme is the changing perception of racism in the West and how the use of “race” has altered during the course of the 20th century.

Focusing on World War II as the crucial turning point in racist ideology, Furedi argues that the defeat of Nazism left the West uneasy with its own racist past. He assesses how this was redefined in the postwar period, especially during the Cold War, and demonstrates that although white supremacist views became obsolete in international affairs, Western nations sought to portray racism as a natural part of the human condition. As a result the West continued to adopt the moral high ground well into the postwar period, to the ultimate detriment of the nations of the non-West.

Buy this book from: Amazon (UK)

Read more about this book

Population and Development

Population and Development

Many experts believe that population growth is the greatest threat facing humanity. Others argue that the link between population growth and insecurity is unproven. This book discusses both sides of this debate, examining the way the arguments have changed and evolved, and questioning the assumptions of the main protagonists. The book argues that the Western precoccupation with population growth reveals more about the internal concerns of Western societies than the socio-economic development of the south. It suggests that attempts to establish a causal link between increases in population and poverty lead to a pragmatic, even manipulative approach to the issue of development. Examining a broad range of key debates and controversies - the “population bomb” in Asia, the culture of a distinct regime of African fertility, the role of education in stabilizing population growth in Kerala - the author contends that the marginalization of the goal of development is the outcome of a narrow concern with population policies. He fears that the recent shift of the population agenda towards the problems of the environment, gender equality and reproductive health is informed by a similar opportunistic pragmatism. The book should be of interest to students and specialists in development studies, sociology, and population studies, and for anyone interested in the debates surrounding world population growth.

Buy this book from: Amazon (UK) | Amazon (USA)

Read more about this book

Colonial Wars and the Politics of Third World Nationalism

Colonial Wars and the Politics of Third World Nationalism

The crisis now facing many post-colonial societies has raised important questions about the nature of Third World nationalist movements and their struggle against Western domination. Histories of Britain’s colonial past have tended to regard the process of decolonization as having taken place as a direct consequence of British policy, with the result that the influence of anti-colonial movements on British imperialism has been overlooked.

In a new interpretation of decolonization, the author of this book focuses on the way in which Britain reacted to the nationalist claims made by anti-colonial movements. With the weakening of imperial control from the 1930s onwards, the development of such movements in the 1940s was greatly boosted. Closely bound up with the central issue of political legitimacy, nationalism posed a powerful threat to colonial power. The author argues that by contesting the validity of nationalist claims made by anti-colonial movements, Britain attempted to discredit indigenous opposition in the colonies. Subsequent histories of decolonization have been profoundly influenced by the imperial view of Third World nationalism, and little attention has been paid to the way in which Third World nationalist movements helped to reshape British imperialism.

This study examines Britain’s colonial wars in Malaysia, Kenya and Guyana within the wider framework of imperial politics. It discusses the intellectual orientation and propaganda techniques that Britain used to represent Third World nationalism. Combining the methods of comparative historical sociology and original fieldwork, Furedi draws on recently released archival sources from both sides of the Atlantic.

Buy this book from: Amazon (UK)

Read more about this book

The New Ideology of Imperialism: Renewing the Moral Imperative

The New Ideology of Imperialism: Renewing the Moral Imperative

During the 19th century vast areas of the underdeveloped world were invaded and colonized under the justification of anti-slavery and the civilizing mission. In this analysis, Furedi demonstrates how, in the late 20th century, the major nations of the West are again intervening in the Third World - this time legitimizing their action on new moral grounds.

The author’s multidisciplinary study examines the language, nature and origins of the moral justification for such massive intervention. The author argues that, in the wake of the collapse of Soviet communism, the West now presents the Third World as the major threat to international stability, offering Western democracy and financial systems as the solution, thus providing a “new moral imperative” for rebuilding a viable imperialist ideology. The author examines this new anti-Third World view and concludes that we are experiencing the rehabilitation of the imperialist ideas that are depriving post colonial societies of their own moral authority.

Buy this book from: Amazon (UK)

Read more about this book

< previous   next >