Professor Frank Furedi

Frank Furedi is a sociologist and social commentator. Since the late 1990s, he has been widely cited about his views on why Western societies find it so difficult to engage with risk and uncertainty. He has published widely about controversies relating to issues such as health, parenting children, food and new technology. His book Invitation To Terror: Expanding the Empire of the Unknown (2007) explores the way in which the threat of terrorism has become amplified through the ascendancy of precautionary thinking. It develops the arguments contained in two previous books, Culture of Fear (2002) and Paranoid Parenting (2001). Both of these works investigate the interaction between risk consciousness and perceptions of fear, trust relations and social capital in contemporary society.

Frank has also written extensively about issues to do with education and cultural life. His book, Wasted: Why education Is not educating (2009), deals with the influence of the erosion of adult authority on schooling. On Tolerance (2011) offers a restatement of the importance of this concept for an open society. Authority: a sociological history (2013) examines how the modern world has become far more comfortable with questioning authority than with affirming it.

Frank is committed to promoting the ideals of a humanist education and his writings on higher education are devoted to affirming the value of the liberal arts. His most recent book, Power Of Reading: From Socrates to Twitter (2015), outlines the case for a liberal humanist conception of a culture of reading.

Frank’s books and articles offer an authoritative yet lively account of key developments in contemporary cultural life. Using his insights as a professional sociologist, he has produced a series of agenda-setting books that have been widely discussed in the media. His books have been translated into 13 languages.

Frank regularly comments on radio and television. He has appeared on Newsnight, Sky News and BBC News, Radio Four’s Today programme, and a variety of other radio television shows. Internationally, he has been interviewed by the media in Australia, Canada, the United States, Poland, Holland, Belgium, Brazil and Germany.


 Related Sessions

Saturday, 10.30am Upper Gulbenkian Gallery
What is education for?

Saturday, 3.30pm Upper Gulbenkian Gallery
The resurrection of religion

Sunday, 5.45pm Upper Gulbenkian Gallery
Terrorism

 Publications

On Tolerance: The Life Style Wars: A Defence of Moral Independence (Continuum, 2011)
Wasted: Why Education is Not Educating (Continuum, 2009)
Invitation to Terror: The Expanding Empire of the Unknown (Continuum, 2007)
Where Have All the Intellectual Gone? Confronting 21st Century Philistinism (Continuum, 2005)

 Festival Buzz

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"The 2006 Battle of Ideas did what it said on the tin: prejudices were punctured, common wisdom was questioned and original thinking honoured. The saying was coined in Texas, but I suggest that the Battle of Ideas adopts it as the conference motto: ‘sacred cows make the best burgers."
George Brock, Saturday Editor, The Times