1st Edition

State of Fear in a Liquid World

By Carlo Bordoni Copyright 2017
    134 Pages
    by Routledge

    134 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book examines the insecurity that besets our lives in the contemporary world, whether as a result of natural disasters, human negligence or, more recently, threats to security in the form of terrorist activity, which itself gives rise to new fears: fear of travel, agoraphobia, distrust of others and existential anxieties.

    Revealing the connection between the two components of our insecurity, as reflecting on and conditioning human existence, and producing social problems, the author brings this to bear on the notion of security that modernity had sought to guarantee to its citizens – a notion that has slowly crumbled with the crisis of modernity and with the emergence of the "liquid" world.

    Now insecurity is endemic and has so firmly become part of us as to be accepted as an unpleasant aspect of normality that we must live with. However, the necessity of living in a risk society in which security has emerged as important does nothing to dispel the fear that accompanies us at all times. An engagement with the thought of Bauman that explores fear as an accompaniment to the end of modernity and its assurances, State of Fear in a Liquid World offers developments of the thesis of liquid modernity and will appeal to scholars and students of sociology, social theory and politics with interests in individualisation, social change and (in)security.

    Preface: A silent companion in a liquid world


    1. Phobos, a God repressed

    2. Fear of the machine

    3. Human adaption to the machine

    4. Natural and moral disasters

    5. Danger as an everyday experience

    6. Social security and individual insecurity

    7. Fear of Invasion

    8. Fear of Exclusion

    9. Waste in our future

    10. The frailty of personal relationships

    11. Forms of reassurance

    12. Globalization and "overclass"

    13. The Panopticon inside the net

    14. The anxiety-inducing State and the management of insecurity

    15. Unde malum? A temporary conclusion




    Carlo Bordoni is a sociologist, journalist, former lecturer at the University of Florence and Director of the Academy of Fine Arts, Carrara (Italy). He writes for the Italian newspaper Il Corriere della Sera and its literary supplement, la Lettura, for the quarterly Prometeo, and the journal Social Europe online. He is the author of State of Crisis with Zygmunt Bauman, The End of Equality (Routledge, 2016) and Interregnum: Beyond Liquid Modernity.

    'Considering that the fear emanating from the state of anxiety and existential uncertainty is the dominant horror haunting our times, and the comprehensiveness of Carlo Bordoni's inventory of its roots and impacts, State of Fear in a Liquid World is a most welcome gift to the residents of the 21st Century.' - Zygmunt Bauman, University of Leeds, U.K

    'In this thought-provoking book, Carlo Bordoni convincingly shows the powerful presence of insecurity and fear in contemporary liquid modern society. The book is packed with ominous insights about the normalization of the state of fear and about how we may still hope to counteract this tendency. A must read for anybody keen to understand our fear-infested culture.' - Michael Hviid Jacobsen, Aalborg University, Denmark

    'The world has become a scary place. We are fearful, but fear helps make sense of the world. Are we too scared to lose our fear? Carlo Bordoni offers resources to think anew and openly about our fears and our world. He issues a challenge – stop being fearful and, instead, think.' - Keith Tester,  LaTrobe University, Australia