Fear seems to be a ubiquitous feeling nowadays. Triggers of fear have multiplied in the last few years – the prolonged financial crisis and countless terrorist attacks around the world are only the most prominent examples. We are afraid of downward social mobility, old-age poverty, foreigners, loss of identity, epidemic diseases and dementia; and perhaps we still continue to be afraid of nuclear power, species extinction, climate change, and catastrophes of all kinds. For a feeling like fear to become such a dominating feeling in society, however, there must be more than just a few frightening incidents. What factors must work together to propagate a general climate of fear? Which societal and cultural changes facilitate it? What role do new and old media play? Are there ‘entrepreneurs of fear’ who stand to gain political and economical capital from fear? How rational are our fears?
Conception: Martin Schaad and Rüdiger Zill, Potsdam
Participants: Harro Albrecht, Hamburg; Frank Biess, San Diego; Heinz Bude, Kassel; Jens Eder, Potsdam; Dirk Gieselmann, Berlin; Bettina Hitzer, Berlin; Lars Koch, Dresden; Philipp Stoellger, Heidelberg; Bernd Zywietz, Mainz