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Frank Furedi

Frank Furedi is a professor of sociology at the University of Kent at Canterbury, and has written widely on history, sociology and politics. He is author of Therapy Culture: Cultivating Vulnerability in an Uncertain Age, The Culture of Fear: Risk-Taking and the Morality of Low Expectation and Paranoid Parenting: Why Ignoring the Experts May Be Best for Your Child. His recent research has covered why people become litigious and what happens to their lives in the course of litigation.

His research is focused on the construction of contemporary social problems (risk, social panics, race and demography) and on the sociology identity and belonging (litigation, race-mixing and morality). In recent years his work has been devoted to an exploration of the question of risk consciousness and its impact on contemporary society. He is working on two interrelated texts, The State of Emotion and Litigation and The New Subject, both of which are orientated towards investigating the interaction between risk consciousness, blaming and the ambiguities of contemporary morality.

Although Furedi's work is strongly influenced by the insights of social constructionist sociology, his training in field work and history bring to the study of social problems a historical and empirical dimension. Elements of this approach are outlined in his last three books; Population and Development (1997), The Silent War (1998) and in particular in The Culture of Fear (1997 - new revised edition 2002). These three texts examine the problematisation of different forms of social anxieties (race, population and risk) and have provided him with an opportunity to elaborate a sociological approach that synthesises the methods of historical inquiry with the insights of sociological investigation. Paranoid Parenting (2001) develops this approach in relation to social anxieties about childhood.

Frank Furedi contributed to The Great Debate: Politics of Fear discussing his book Politics of Fear: Beyond Left and Right in Newcastle on Monday 24 April 2006 and will be speaking on Authority, Respect and Human Potential in the 21st Century on Monday 21 January 2008.

Frank Furedi has his own website at

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Politics of Fear Politics of Fear: Beyond Left and Right

The terms "left" and "right" pervade all our discussions of politics. But do they mean anything any more? And is it really satisfactory to reduce all our political debate to these two terms? This book shows how contemporary and recent developments, including the Cold War, the Culture Wars and Third Way-type managerialism, have created the need for a new conception of politics with an adequate conception of humanity - one that "remoralises" politics by taking humans seriously, recognises the centrality of morality and discussions of right and wrong, and utilises our imaginations. The book proposes a new, and inevitably controversial, humanist politics to escape the trap of 20th century political ideology.

Where Have All the Intellectuals Gone? Where Have All the Intellectuals Gone?: Confronting 21st Century Philistinism

The Intellectual is an endangered species. In place of such figures as Bertrand Russell, Raymond Williams or Hannah Arendt - people with genuine learning, breadth of vision and a concern for public issues - we now have only facile pundits, think-tank apologists, and spin doctors. In the age of the knowledge economy, we have somehow managed to combine the widest ever participation in higher education with the most dumbed-down of cultures. In this urgent and passionate book, Frank Furedi explains the essential contribution of intellectuals both to culture and to democracy - and why we need to recreate a public sphere in which intellectuals and the general public can talk to each other again.

Therapy Culture Therapy Culture: Cultivating Vulnerability in an Uncertain Age

Frank Furedi's latest book is a highly readable and compelling study into the rise of 'therapy culture' in contemporary society. For anyone who is disturbed by the excessive emotionalism of politics, public life and culture, this well-argued book provides a welcome antidote. Furedi conducts an alarming survey of the extent to which counselling and therapeutic policies have spread into different areas of our private and public life. His conclusion, however, is not an attack against therapy per se, but rather, the culture of therapy which elevates particular emotions, the notion of 'self-esteem' and a highly individuated sense of fulfilment. The strength of the book is not to just describe this trend but to highlight its most corrosive aspects, particularly how the culture of therapy nurtures a culture of dependence, where people are increasingly encouraged to seek professional advice from 'experts'. Ironically, the professionalisation of emotion management does not make us more at ease with our feelings but rather more suspicious and undermines the existing intimate relations we do have. Highly recommended to anyone interested in contemporary social trends and culture.                                                   Review by Munira Mirza

Culture of Fear Culture of Fear: Risk Taking and the Morality of Low Expectation

Safety has become the fundamental value of contemporary society. In a world obsessed with abuse, stranger danger, disease and environmental damage, we are constantly told that we are 'at risk' and urged to take greater precautions and seek more protection. Yet the facts often fail to support the scare stories about new or growing risks to our health and safety. So, why do we panic? And what does the predisposition always to believe the worst about the human condition tell us about the society we live in today? In Culture of Fear, Frank Furedi argues that the preoccupation with safety and suvival reflects an outlook of low expectations. He critically examines the roots and the consequences of contemporary risk consciousness. Through challenging the fatalistic mood of the times, Furedi outlines a bold argument in favour of the human potential to confront problems and to take risks.

Paranoid Parenting Paranoid Parenting: Why Ignoring the Experts May Be Best for Your Child

Hardly a day goes by without parents being warned of a new threat to their children's well-being. Everything is dangerous: the crib, the babysitter, the school, the supermarket, the park. High-profile campaigns convince parents that their children's health, safety, and development are constantly at risk. Parents are criticized by one child-care expert after another, but even the experts can't agree on matters as simple as whether or not it is wise to sleep next to a child. Parents don't know whom to trust; the only clear message is that they can't trust themselves. Fresh and accessible, Paranoid Parenting suggests that parental anxieties themselves are the worst influence on children. Based on new sociological research as well as dozens of interviews with parents and experts throughout the United States, Canada, and Great Britain, this groundbreaking book will bolster parents' confidence in their own judgments and enable them to bring up confident, imaginative, and capable children.

Democracy and Participation: New Social Movements in Liberal Democracies Democracy and Participation: New Social Movements in Liberal Democracies
Frank Furedi (Foreword), Gary Taylor (Editor), Malcolm Todd (Editor)

An ideal introduction for undergraduate students of social movements in courses on sociology, social policy and political theory with a focus on collective action and social protest. The book provides accessible theoretical readings and case studies of particular movements concerned with women's rights, ethnicity and 'race', disability, peace, anti-privatization. It explores issues of youth and political involvement, free speech and unemployment and the role of voluntary and community groups in challenging traditional perspectives on democracy.

Population and Development Population and Development: A Critical Introduction

Many experts believe that population growth is the greatest threat facing humanity. Others argue that the link between population growth and insecurity is unproven. This book discusses both sides of this debate, examining the way the arguments have changed and evolved, and questioning the assumptions of the main protagonists. The book argues that the Western precoccupation with population growth reveals more about the internal concerns of Western societies than the socio-economic development of the south. It suggests that attempts to establish a causal link between increases in population and poverty lead to a pragmatic, even manipulative approach to the issue of development. Examining a broad range of key debates and controversies - the "population bomb" in Asia, the culture of a distinct regime of African fertility, the role of education in stabilizing population growth in Kerala - the author contends that the marginalization of the goal of development is the outcome of a narrow concern with population policies. He fears that the recent shift of the population agenda towards the problems of the environment, gender equality and reproductive health is informed by a similar opportunistic pragmatism. The book should be of interest to students and specialists in development studies, sociology, and population studies, and for anyone interested in the debates surrounding world population growth.

Colonial Wars and the Politics of Third World Nationalism Colonial Wars and the Politics of Third World Nationalism

The crisis now facing many post-colonial societies has raised important questions about the nature of Third World nationalist movements and their struggle against Western domination. Histories of Britain's colonial past have tended to regard the process of decolonization as having taken place as a direct consequence of British policy, with the result that the influence of anti-colonial movements on British imperialism has been overlooked. In a new interpretation of decolonization, Frank Furedi focuses on the way in which Britain reacted to the nationalist claims made by anti-colonial movements. With the weakening of imperial control from the 1930s onwards, the development of such movements in the 1940s was greatly boosted. Closely bound up with the central issue of political legitimacy, nationalism posed a powerful threat to colonial power. Furedi argues that by contesting the validity of nationalist claims made by anti-colonial movements, Britain attempted to discredit indigenous opposition in the colonies. Subsequent histories of decolonization have been profoundly influenced by the imperial view of Third World nationalism, and little attention has been paid to the way in which Third World nationalist movements helped to reshape British imperialism. This study examines Britain's colonial wars in Malaysia, Kenya and Guyana within the wider framework of imperial politics. It discusses the intellectual orientation and propaganda techniques that Britain used to represent Third World nationalism. Combining the methods of comparative historical sociology and original fieldwork, Furedi draws on recently released archival sources from both sides of the Atlantic.

Thinking in Public, Soon to be published
The Silent War: Imperialism and the Changing Perception of Race, 1998
The New Ideology of Imperialism; Renewing the Moral Imperative, 1997
Mythical Past - Elusive Future: History and Society in an Anxious Age, 1995
The Mau Mau War in Perspective, 1991

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Useful Links books by Frank Furedi

Professor Frank Furedi, School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research, University of Kent

Our unhealthy obsession with sickness, spiked-online, March 2005

Symbol clash the PARLIAMENT magazine, 31 January 2005 The swastika: intolerance is not a way to engage with a symbol of hatred. [pdf format]

The children who won't grow up by Frank Furedi, July 2003

Epidemic of fear by Frank Furedi, March 2002

Assessment versus intellect The demise of proper essays and exams has made degree inflation a fact of life, says Frank Furedi Tuesday March 25, 2003, The Guardian

Making People Feel Good About Themselves: British Social Policy And The Construction Of The Problem Of Self-Esteem by Frank Furedi, Inaugural lecture, 24 January 2003

Making Sense of Parental Paranoia Excerpt from Paranoid Parenting by Frank Furedi, The Guardian Unlimited

Asymmetrical Actors and Intentional Risk, Abstract

Consuming Democracy: activism, elitism and political apathy by Dr Frank Furedi

Please recognise my identity - accounting for the contemporary concern with recognition, transcript from Institute of Ideas and Institut franšais "Attention Seeking: multiculturalism and the politics of recognition"

Diagnosing the problem: a commentary on preimplantation genetic diagnosis by Ann Furedi and Frank Furedi

Six Billion Reasons to Celebrate by Frank Furedi, September 1999

Who Voted For Consumer Activists? by Frank Furedi, August, 1999

Watch out, adults about by Frank Furedi, August 1999

Succumbing to Green Scare Tactics by Frank Furedi, The Wall Street Journal Europe, November 1998

New Britain: A Regulator's Paradise by Frank Furedi, The Wall Street Journal Europe, March 1998

Macro to micro: Frank Furedi on the left-liberal surrender to "PC"

Mumsnet live event. Edited transcript of live online chat with sociologist Frank Furedi

Defining the moment, BBC News, July 2003

Therapy Culture exposes the often-bizarre thinking behind the growing practice of counselling. James Heartfield

You're so vain, you probably think this book is about you Therapy Culture and the Therapistas, by Dolan Cummings

Furious Furedi?

Please don't feel our pain review of Therapy Culture by Melissa Benn, The Independent, 10 October 2003

Theodore Dalrymple reviews Therapy Culture by Frank Furedi

Pull yourself together! Blake Morrison is not impressed by Frank Furedi's Therapy Culture December 20, 2003, The Guardian Unlimited

Review of Therapy Culture by Raj Persaud, bmj

Who really needs therapy? Frizzy Logic, October 2003

How we let our emotions take over from our brains by Damian Thompson

Teen mums 'are targets of eugenics' Government pregnancy-reduction plan is about stopping lower classes breeding, claims expert by Sarah-Kate Templeton, Sunday Herald Online, April 2003

Sociologist tears apart self-esteem of the State By Alexandra Frean, Times Online

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Publications Related to Research

Single Authored Books

Thinking in Public, Soon to be published

Therapy Culture: Cultivating Vulnerability in an Uncertain Age, 2003

Paranoid Parenting: Why Ignoring the Experts May Be Best for Your Child Penguin/Alan Lane, 2001

The Silent War: Imperialism and the Changing Perception of Race, Pluto and Rutgers University Press, 1998

Culture of Fear: Risk Taking and the Morality of Low Expectations, Cassell, 1997

Population and Development,Polity Press, 1997

The New Ideology of Imperialism; Renewing the Moral Imperative, Pluto Press, 1997

Mythical Past - Elusive Future: History and Society in an Anxious Age, Pluto Press, 1995

Colonial Wars and the Politics of Third World Nationalism, I.B. Tauris, 1994

The Mau Mau War in Perspective, James Currey/Ohio University Press, 1989, pp.239 Kenya edition 1990, Second edition, 1991

Selected Other Publications

'The Social Construction of the British Bullying Epidemic' in J. Best ed. The Cross-National Diffusion of Social Problems Claims, Aldine de Gruyter (2001)

co-authored with J. Best 'The Evolution of Road Rage in Britain and the United States' in J. Best ed. The Cross-National Diffusion of Social Problems Claims, Aldine de Gruyter (2001)

'Sociological Perceptions of Race Mixing' in Parker, D. and Song, M. ed. Rethinking 'Race Mixing' (2001) Pluto Press

'Reproductive Health of Population Policy?' in Kelleher, C. and Edmondson, R. eds. Health Promotion: Multi-Discipline or New Discipline, Irish Academic Press, (2001)

'Diseasing the Workplace' Journal of Occupational Health Review, November 1999, pp26-29

with T. Brown 'Complaining Britain', Society, June 1999

'The demobilized African soldier and the blow to white prestige' in D. Killingray, D. Omissi (eds.) Guardians of Empire, Manchester University Press, pp. 179-198

'The New Etiquette' in C. Levitt, S, Davies, N. McLaughlin (eds.), Mistaken Identities; The Second Wave of Controversy over "Political Correctness", Peter Lang

Courting Mistrust: The hidden growth of culture of litigation in Britain, Centre for Policy Studies, 1999

'A Sociology if Health Panics' in Mooney, L. and Bate, R. eds. Environmental Health, Third World Problems - First World Preoccupations, Butterworth - Heinemann, 1999, pp.47-62

'Risk and Risk Society - exchange between Ulrich Beck and Frank Furedi', Prometheus, no. 1. Winter 1999, pp.69-83

'Rowland, S., Byron, C., Furedi, F., Padfield, N and Smyth, T. 'Turning Academics into Teachers', Teaching in Higher Education, vol 3, no 2 June 1998

'Alvin Toffler', in M. Warner ed. The International Encyclopaedia of Business and Management. The Handbook of Management Thinking, International Thomson Press, 1998, pp. 667-672

New Britain - A Nation of Victims', Society, February 1998, pp 80-85

'The Dangers of Safety' in S. Elworthy. J. Holder eds., Environmental Protection; Texts and Materials, Butterworths, 1997, pp. 17-18

'New Britain - eine Nation des Opfer', Blatter fur deutsche und internationale Politik 11, 1997, pp-1333-1341

'Futurology' in M. Warners, ed. The Concise International Encyclopaedia of Business and Management, International Thomson Press, 1997, pp. 208-214.

'The Moral Condemnation of the South' in C. Thomas ed. New Perspectives on International Relations, Macmillan 1997, pp. 76-89

The International Impact of a Pill Panic, BCT, 1996, pp. 38

'Futurology' in International Encyclopaedia of Business and Management, vol. 2, Thomson Business Press, 1996, pp. 172-178

'The Enthronement of Low Expectations: Fukuyama's Ideological Compromise for Our Time' in C. Bertram and A. Chitty eds: Has History Ended? Fukuyama, Marx, Modernity, Avebury 1994, pp. 31-45

'Creating a Breathing Space: The Political Management of Colonial Emergencies', The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, vol. 21, no. 3, September 1993. (Republished in R. Holland ed. Emergencies and Disorder in the European Empires After 1945, Frank Cass 1994, pp. 89-106

'Decolonisation Through Counterinsurgency' in A. Gorst and S. Lucas eds. Themes in Contemporary History, Francis Pinter, 1991, pp.141-169

'Britain's Colonial Wars: Playing the Ethnic Card', The Journal of Commonwealth and Comparative Politics', March 1990, pp.70-89

'Britain's Colonial Emergencies and the Invisible Nationalists', Journal of Historical Sociology, vol. 2, no 3, 1989, pp.240-264

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