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Culture of fear

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Title: Culture of fear  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Workplace bullying, Bullying, Psychological manipulation, Fear, Andy Hickson
Collection: Cultural Studies, Fear, Media Issues, Propaganda Techniques, Social Psychology, Terrorism Tactics, Workplace, Workplace Bullying
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Culture of fear

Culture of fear (or climate of fear) is the concept that people may incite fear in the general public to achieve political goals.[1] It is also a term applied to the workplace.


  • In the workplace 1
  • In politics 2
  • Publications 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • Further reading 6

In the workplace

Ashforth discussed potentially destructive sides of [4] Several studies have confirmed a relationship between bullying, on the one hand, and an autocratic leadership and an authoritarian way of settling conflicts or dealing with disagreements, on the other. An authoritarian style of leadership may create a climate of fear, where there is little or no room for dialogue and where complaining may be considered futile.[5]

In a study of public-sector union members, approximately one in five workers reported having considered [4]

In politics

Nazi leader Hermann Göring explains how people can be made fearful and to support a war they otherwise would oppose:

The people don't want war, but they can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. This is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and for exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country.[6]

In her book "State and Opposition in Military Brazil," Maria Helena Moreira Alves found a "culture of fear" was implemented as part of political repression since 1964. She used the term to describe methods implemented by the national security apparatus of Brazil in its effort to equate political participation with risk of arrest and torture.[7]

Cassação (English: cassation) is one such mechanism used to punish members of the military by legally declaring them dead. This enhanced the potential for political control through intensifying the culture of fear as a deterrent to opposition.[8]

Alves found the changes of the National Security Law of 1969, as beginning the use of "economic explotiation, physical repression, political control, and strict censorship" to establish a "culture of fear" in Brazil.[9] The three psychological components of the culture of fear included silence through censorship, sense of isolation, and a "generalized belief that all channels of opposition were closed." A "feeling of complete hopelessness," prevailed, in addition to "withdrawal from opposition activity."[10]

Former US National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski argues that the use of the term War on Terror was intended to generate a culture of fear deliberately because it "obscures reason, intensifies emotions and makes it easier for demagogic politicians to mobilize the public on behalf of the policies they want to pursue".[11][12]

Frank Furedi, a former professor of Sociology and writer for Spiked magazine, says that today's culture of fear did not begin with the collapse of the World Trade Center. Long before September 11, he argues, public panics were widespread – on everything from GM crops to mobile phones, from global warming to foot-and-mouth disease. Like Durodié, Furedi argues that perceptions of risk, ideas about safety and controversies over health, the environment and technology have little to do with science or empirical evidence. Rather, they are shaped by cultural assumptions about human vulnerability. Furedi say that "we need a grown-up discussion about our post-September 11 world, based on a reasoned evaluation of all the available evidence rather than on irrational fears for the future.[13]

British academics Gabe Mythen and Sandra Walklate argue that following terrorist attacks in New York, the Pentagon, Madrid, and London, government agencies developed a discourse of "new terrorism" in a cultural climate of fear and uncertainty. UK researchers argued that this processes reduced notion of public safety and created the simplistic image of a non-white "terroristic other" that has negative consequences for ethnic minority groups in the UK.[14]

In his 2004 BBC documentary film series, Bush administration for expanding their power in this way.[16] The film features Bill Durodié, then Director of the International Centre for Security Analysis, and Senior Research Fellow in the International Policy Institute, King's College London, saying that to call this network an "invention" would be too strong a term, but he asserts that it probably does not exist and is largely a "(projection) of our own worst fears, and that what we see is a fantasy that's been created."[17]


Sorted upwards by date, most recent last.

  • The Formation of the National Security State: the State and the Opposition in Military Brazil, Volume 2 (1982) by Maria Helena Moreira Alves
  • Risk Society, Towards a New Modernity (1989), by Risikogesellschaft, Suhrkamp, 1989, 391pp., ISBN 3-518-11365-8]
  • The Culture of Fear: Why Americans Are Afraid of the Wrong Things (2000), by Barry Glassner ISBN 0-465-01490-9
  • Creating Fear: News and the Construction of a Crisis (2002), by David L. Altheide, Aldine de Gruyter, 223pp., ISBN 978-0-202-30660-5
  • Kingdom of Fear: Loathsome Secrets of a Star-Crossed Child in the Final Days of the American Century (2003), by Hunter S. Thompson, Simon & Schuster, ISBN 0-684-87324-9
  • The Climate of Fear (2004), by Wole Soyinka, BBC Reith Lectures 2004, London, Profile Books, 155pp., ISBN 1-86197-783-2
  • State of Fear (2004), Michael Crichton, ISBN 0-06-621413-0
  • Culture of Fear: Risk taking and the morality of low expectation (2005), by Frank Furedi, ISBN 0-8264-7616-3
  • Politics of Fear: Beyond Left and Right (2005), by Frank Furedi, ISBN 0-8264-8728-9
  • You Have the Power: Choosing Courage in a Culture of Fear (2005), by Frances Moore Lappe and Jeffrey Perkins, ISBN 978-1-58542-424-5
  • Urban Nightmares: The Media, the Right and the Moral Panic over the City (2006), by Steve Macek, ISBN 0-8166-4361-X
  • Cultures of Fear: A Critical Reader (2009), by Uli Linke, Danielle Smith, Anthropology, Culture and Society, ISBN 978-0-7453-2965-9

See also


  1. ^ Klaehn, Jeffery (2005). Filtering the news: essays on Herman and  
  2. ^ Petty tyranny in organizations , Ashforth, Blake, Human Relations, Vol. 47, No. 7, 755-778 (1994)
  3. ^ Braiker, Harriet B. (2004). Who's Pulling Your Strings ? How to Break The Cycle of Manipulation.  
  4. ^ a b Helge H, Sheehan MJ, Cooper CL, Einarsen S “Organisational Effects of Workplace Bullying” in Bullying and Harassment in the Workplace: Developments in Theory, Research, and Practice (2010)
  5. ^ Salin D, Helge H “Organizational Causes of Workplace Bullying” in Bullying and Harassment in the Workplace: Developments in Theory, Research, and Practice (2010)
  6. ^ Gustave Gilbert (1947) Nuremberg Diary.
  7. ^ Alves, Maria (1985). State and Opposition in Military Brazil. Brazil: University of Texas Press. p. 352. 
  8. ^ State and Opposition in Military Brazil. p. 43. 
  9. ^ State and Opposition in Military Brazil. p. 125. 
  10. ^ State and Opposition in Military Brazil. p. 126. 
  11. ^ "Terrorized by 'War on Terror' by Brzezinski". March 25, 2007. Retrieved 2010-11-23. 
  12. ^  
  13. ^ Frank Furedi. "Epidemic of fear". Retrieved 2010-11-23. 
  14. ^ Communicating the terrorist risk: Harnessing a culture of fear? Gabe Mythen Manchester Metropolitan University, UK, Sandra Walklate University of Liverpool, UK
  15. ^ "The Power of Nightmares: Your comments".  
  16. ^ a b Jeffries, Stuart (May 12, 2005). "The film US TV networks dare not show".  
  17. ^

Further reading

  • The Culture of Fear by Noam Chomsky
  • The Politics of Fear – article by Corey Robin published in La Clé des langues
  • Beyond a Culture of Fear, by K. Lauren de Boer – article published in the EarthLight magazine, #47, fall/winter 2002/2003
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