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CASE STUDY

Understanding fear

That fear has become politicized is widely recognized. Commentators and politicians frequently accuse their opponents of practicing “the politics of fear.”

Society is continually bombarded with the message that the threats it faces are incalculable and cannot be managed or contained. The ascendancy of this outlook has been paralleled by the cultivation of helplessness and passivity - all this has heightened people's sense of powerlessness and anxiety. As a consequence we are constantly searching for new forms of security, both physical and ontological.

 

What are the drivers of fear, what is the role of the media in its promotion, and who actually benefits from this culture of fear? By understanding how fear works, we can encourage attitudes that will help bring about a less fearful future.

Published in the Journal of American Affairs, Winter 2018 / Volume II, Number 4.

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