Veith Selk: New Books About the ,Politics of Fear‘ in an Age of ,War on Terror‘

Abstract

The relation between politics and fear has always been an object of study in the history of political thought. This topic has gained new attention in contemporary historical, social and political science, especially in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on the 11th of September 2001 and the so called ,war on terror‘. The article offers a survey of new contributions to the study of the ,politics of fear‘ and it seeks to sketch their answers to related questions such as: What are the causes, consequences and forms of political fear? Does fear work as an useful sensor of dangers to the political community or is it rather an instrument of political propaganda and manipulation used by elites and activists for the purpose of gaining power and profits? Is fear a more or less uniting political factor or does it rather have polarising effects? How do public discourses of fear affect political will formation, political decisions and processes of political legitimisation? To be more specific: What is the role of fear in democratic forms of deliberation and policy formation and how do security agencies and governments, the media, political parties, citizens and nongovernmental- organisations interact in this context, especially in times of crisis and under terrorist threats?

The following titles were discussed i.a.:
Furedi, F.
: Politics of Fear (270); Robin, C.: Fear (273); Nacos, B. L./Bloch-Elkon, Y./Shapiro, R. Y.: Selling Fear (276); Greiner, B.: 9/11 (280); Greiner, B./Müller, C. T./Walter, D. (Hrsg.): Angst im Kalten Krieg (286)

 

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