Be Very Afraid: The Cultural Response to Terror, Pandemics, by Robert Wuthnow

By Robert Wuthnow

Robert Wuthnow has been praised as certainly one of "the country's most sensible social scientists" by way of columnist David Brooks, who hails his writing as "tremendously valuable." The ny occasions calls him "temperate, balanced, compassionate," including, "one can't yet respect Mr. Wuthnow's views." a number one authority on faith, he now addresses essentially the most profound matters: the tip of the world.

In Be Very Afraid, Wuthnow examines the human reaction to existential threats--once an issue for theology, yet now looming ahead of us in a number of kinds. Nuclear guns, pandemics, international warming: every one threatens to smash the planet, or a minimum of to annihilate our species. Freud, he notes, famously taught that the traditional mental reaction to an overpowering probability is denial. actually, Wuthnow writes, the other is right: we search methods of definitely assembly the chance, of doing something--anything--even if it's wasteful and time-consuming. The atomic period that all started with the bombing of Hiroshima sparked a flurry of job, starting from duck-and-cover drills, basement bomb shelters, and marches for a nuclear freeze. All have been arguably ineffectual, but each one sprang from an innate wish to take motion. it might be something if our responses have been simply unnecessary, Wuthnow observes, yet they could really be destructive. either the general public and policymakers are likely to version reactions to grave threats on how we met earlier ones. The reaction to the terrorist assaults of 9-11, for instance, echoed the chilly War--citizens went out to shop for duct tape, mimicking 1950s-era civil protection measures, and the management introduced expensive conflicts in another country.

Offering perception into our responses to every thing from An Inconvenient Truth to the chook and swine flu epidemics, Robert Wuthnow presents a profound new realizing of the human response to existential vulnerability.

Show description

Read Online or Download Be Very Afraid: The Cultural Response to Terror, Pandemics, Environmental Devastation, Nuclear Annihilation, and Other Threats PDF

Best terrorism books

The Routledge Handbook of Terrorism Research (Routledge Handbooks)

This significant new instruction manual synthesises greater than twenty years of scholarly learn, and gives a complete evaluate of the sector of terrorism studies.

The content material of the guide relies at the responses to a questionnaire by way of approximately a hundred specialists from greater than 20 international locations in addition to the explicit services and adventure of the quantity editor and a few of the individuals. jointly, they advisor the reader in the course of the voluminous literature on terrorism, and suggest a brand new consensus definition of terrorism, in line with an intensive overview of current conceptualisations. The paintings additionally encompasses a huge choice of typologies and surveys a variety of theories of terrorism. extra chapters survey terrorist databases and supply a advisor to on hand assets on terrorism in libraries and on the web. it is also the main entire international listing of Extremist, Terrorist and different enterprises linked to Guerrilla struggle, Political Violence, Protest and arranged- and Cyber-Crime.

The Routledge guide of Terrorism learn might be a necessary paintings of reference for college kids and researchers of terrorism and political violence, safety reports, criminology, political technological know-how and diplomacy, and of significant curiosity to policymakers and pros within the box of counter-terrorism.

From the Terrorists' Point of View: What They Experience and Why They Come to Destroy

Featuring an image of the area giving upward thrust to Islamic terrorism, From the Terrorists' viewpoint argues that terrorism arises from a deep and pervasive identification situation in Islamic societies. The account offered in those 10 chapters is formed by way of the author's first-hand reports of lifestyles within the Islamic global, in addition to his greater than quarter-century of analysis at the psychology of clash and radicalism.

Phases of Terrorism in the Age of Globalization: From Christopher Columbus to Osama bin Laden

Levels of Terrorism within the Age of Globalization considers terrorism as a side of the capitalist global process for nearly 5 centuries. Jalata's study unearths that terrorism can emerge from above as nation terrorism and lower than as subversive businesses or teams.

Extra info for Be Very Afraid: The Cultural Response to Terror, Pandemics, Environmental Devastation, Nuclear Annihilation, and Other Threats

Example text

67 24 Rethinking the Roots of Terrorism However, the use or indeed misuse of terrorism has been recognised and scepticism has been voiced. 68 Moreover, Chomsky identifies the existence of ‘image’ and ‘reality’ concepts of terrorism. ‘Reality’ he argues, is ‘literal terrorism’, which is an identifiable and real threat to the state. 69 These ideas relating to internal state terrorism can also be seen as counter or anti-terrorism, as both advantages and disadvantages. 70 This argument is particularly relevant in the approach of many post-September 11 states that have introduced national emergency anti-terrorism laws that blatantly contravene individual human rights.

85 Individuals and nations, he continues, developed an understanding and belief in ‘natural rights’ especially for the creation of a representative state. These beliefs, enshrined in the concept of the state, have been instrumental in the cause of terrorism since the French Revolution. 86 These types of asymmetric power challenges from non-state actors are widely regarded as some of the main causes of terrorism, especially in orthodox terrorism theory. The irony is however, that these expressions of violence are enshrined in the western value systems of freedom and liberty that helped establish the state in the first instance.

165 Internal group dynamics can also produce an increasingly intractable situation where the only action is violence. Groups can become exclusively orientated towards violence, as it becomes their sole mode of communication. Crenshaw suggests that indoctrination of group members is such that they are forced to commit acts of violence. This is a prerequisite for acceptance into the group and also ensures group cohesion, as members can no longer return to wider orthodox society. 167 This can also be accompanied by ‘organisational violence’ within the group to ensure discipline and loyalty.

Download PDF sample

Rated 4.23 of 5 – based on 46 votes