(1948, Hungary) is professor of sociology at the university of Kent. He wrote among other things Culture of Fear, Paranoid Parenting andTherapy Culture; books on the cultural factors influencing our risk consciousness. In Paranoid Parenting he turns against over-anxious parents, in Therapy Culture he reacts against the image that people are first and foremost vulnerable beings and in Culture of Fear (1997) he argues that western society is increasingly amenable to collective fears. He talks of Anglo-American preoccupations becoming more and and more a wordwide phenomenon. The Netherlands too are influenced by it. "The Netherlands is a relatively civilized country but by degrees it is ripe for all kinds of Anglo-American obsessional neuroses", says Furedi. "People are afraid of bird flu, mad cow disease, environmental pollution. These are fears which have nothing to do with people's direct experience, but which make up a prominent place in their thinking. These fears are fed continuously, it seems as if we are going from one distaster to the next." Furedi is especially fascinated by the way we deal with risks. In his books and articles again and again the question is raised why so many people are guided in life by fear. He warns that fear has become an autonomous and destructive force in society, which, owing to alienation from politics, is able to undermine democracy as well.
Archive available for: Frank Furedi
"The only thing we fear is fear itself", said president Roosevelt. The Netherlands is one of the safest countries in the world. The government does everything to protect us. And yet fear reigns. British sociologist Frank Furedi, writer of among others 'Culture of Fear', says: "Societies capable of projecting a positive image of the future do not know the need to use fear as a currency in everyday life. And politicians trying to enthsue the electorate for a positive programme, largely avoid the politics of fear."
In this Friday afternoon debate Furedi talks to writer and philosopher Marjolijn Februari, writer Adriaan van Dis and former politician Bram Peper. Each of them presents a recommendation to state and citizens, about how to deal with risks and fear. Four students of the Institute of Social Studies, coming from non-western countries, form a shadow panel. In a dialogue with the public they assess the recommendations, adapting them where needed. Host is writer and professor in migrant literature Fouad Laroui. In English