Sunday, May 10, 2009

What swine flu reveals about the culture of fear

"Today, fear entrepreneurs come in all shapes and sizes. Some are moral crusaders who genuinely believe that the very fabric of society is threatened by evil forces. At the other end of the spectrum are the salespeople and hustlers of the market of fear. It is useful to distinguish between the different species of scaremonger, so here is your ‘Guide To Spotting The Different Actors In The Dramatisation Of Fear’."
Frank Furedi from Spiked Online identifies the various types of scaremongers:
Religious moral entrepreneurs
Secular moral entrepreneurs
Health activists
Relationship professionals
Law-and-order moral entrepreneurs
Fear-market entrepreneurs
You can read more about each in What swine flu reveals about the culture of fear
He concludes:
We should note that, although these eight groups are conceptually distinct from one another, their activities and interests often overlap. Health activists are sometimes associated with fear entrepreneurs who sell various products on the market; religious moral entrepreneurs have formed alliances with both environmentalists or therapists working as ‘relationship professionals’. Indeed, despite their diverse interests, the work of these different groups tends to reinforce scaremongering as a whole, as they all contribute to the construction of a climate where promoting fear and anxiety comes to be seen as a legitimate pursuit. And as the performance of fear around the current drama titled ‘Swine Flu Pandemic’ shows, all of these groups are competing for a role in today’s dramatisation of doom.
Frank Furedi is author of Culture of Fear (buy this book from Amazon(UK)) and Invitation To Terror: The Expanding Empire of The Unknown (buy this book from Amazon(UK)), both published by Continuum Press. Visit Furedi’s website here.
Hat tip - Andrew Bolt "The eight merchants of fear"

Posted via email from Garth's posterous

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