Politics of Fear; Fear of Politics, September 2010. Final call for papers deadline 15 May 2010

full name / name of organization: 
Centre for Applied Philosophy, Politics and Ethics (CAPPE) University of Brighton
contact email: 

We live in a world that is dominated by fear. We are increasingly afraid to walk in our city streets, populated as they are by feral youths, drug-dealers and surveillance cameras. The threat of global warming and climate change is ever-present, and accompanied by the even greater fear that we'll be too late to do anything about it. Then of course there's terror: frightened of a Taliban invasion, apparently, we are still fighting in Afghanistan after eight years and pursuing a worldwide "war on terror". And if that's not enough, we are becoming ever more afraid of alcohol, of food, of being too fat, of being too thin; and afraid even of sex. In this climate of fear, it is not surprising that we should also have become terrified of politics, in case we suddenly have to think about an idea, let alone act on it. Our politicians appear as afraid of politics as we are: which is one reason they're privatising everything in sight, so as to evade responsibility for it. As for ideas, they really are terrifying, and our young people have to be protected from them at all costs. In short, the "anti-ideological" determination to take the politics out of politics is closely related to the social, cultural and intellectual dominance of fear as the leitmotif of our everyday lives.

This avowedly interdisciplinary conference seeks to do two things: to describe and analyse what might be termed the contemporary spheres and roles of fear as it is played out both in social, cultural and intellectual life and in day to day life; and to offer ways of escaping those fears. Likely themes might be the following, although the conference is by no means limited to these:

• The history of fear as an organising principle of social life.
• The ideological role of fear.
• The fear of ideology.
• Fear of the other; fear of ourselves.
• Surveillance, anti-social behaviour orders and the "underclass".
• "Food fascism" and the fear of pleasure.
• Medicine and the inculcation of fear.
• Anti-education in schools and universities.
• The fear of ideas, in both the everyday and the academic worlds.
• Fear of the body.
• Fear of the mind.
• Fear in the media; in film; in literature; in art.
• The sophistical undermining of critical thought and theory.
• Fear of radicalism in politics.
• Fear of catastrophe.
• Capitalism and catastrophe.
• Fear of financial collapse.
• The representation of fear and the fear of representation.
• The architecture of fear.

Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be emailed to Nicola Clewer by 15 May 2010: nc95@brighton.ac.uk

For the full call for papers, updates and further information about the centre please visit the CAPPE website: