Professor Frank Furedi
sociologist and social commentator; author, How Fear Works: culture of fear in the 21st century and Populism and the European Culture Wars
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.
His new book, How Fear Works: culture of fear in the 21st century, returns to his original theme – as most of what he predicted has come true. It seeks to explain two interrelated themes: why has fear acquired such a morally commanding status in society today, and how has the way we fear today changed from the way that it was experienced in the past?
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 book, Power Of Reading: from Socrates to Twitter (2015), outlines the case for a liberal humanist conception of a culture of reading. One of his most recent publications, What’s Happened To The University is devoted to a study of the infantilisation of the Academy and its relation to wider cultural influences
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 recent book, Populism and the European Culture Wars: the conflict of values between Hungary and the EU, argues that the EU Establishment has succeeded in distorting both the true meaning of populism and of the principle of national sovereignty. Frank’s 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.
Follow Frank on Twitter @Furedibyte
Saturday 2 November, 10:00 Cinema 1
Can we build solidarity in a fractured society?
Saturday 2 November, 12:00 Garden Room
Hungary: the bad boy of Europe?