By Frank Füredi
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Extra resources for Culture of fear revisited: risk-taking and the morality of low expectation
Research shows that in the USA, since 1985, rates of both violent crime and property crime have been falling. 2 The divergence between subjective perception and the actuality of danger constitutes one of the main subjects of discussion among specialists in the field of risk. Traditionally, the field of risk studies was mainly oriented towards technical tasks. Models were developed to minimize or eliminate the adverse consequences of technological innovation. In recent decades, this approach has given way to a broader one.
And those who dare to radically extend the frontiers of science are often castigated for their arrogance. 'Tampering with nature', 'Letting the genie out of the bottle', 'Opening Pandora's Box', 'scientists playing God', 'Science running ahead of ethics', 'Promethean Arrogance' are some of the metaphors used to indict those who dare. In everyday usage the words 'experiment' and 'experimentation' have acquired negative, if not sinister, connotations. To explain why risk aversion has acquired such widespread resonance, it is necessary to gain an overview of some of the principal features of the culture of fear.
They point out that with the passing of time children's engagement with fear was increasingly interpreted through the prism of terror. 6 The other is to conceptualize children as 'vulnerable' and therefore unlikely to be able to cope with adverse circumstances. Equating fear with terror is one possible orientation towards a particular object of anxiety. However, historically fear has not always had negative connotations. The sixteenth-century English philosopher Thomas Hobbes regarded fear as essential for the realization of the individual and of a civilized society.
Culture of fear revisited: risk-taking and the morality of low expectation by Frank Füredi