Fear is one of the strongest social emotions characterizing today’s Western societies. In the first part, the article provides some different models of interpretation according to the latest European scientific literature: fear as an expression of the modern world instability or as the denunciation of the consequences taking place when the principle of reality fails. Contemporary fear reflects an old anthropological paradigm: the guest turning into an enemy. The idea being investigated is whether fear in Western societies is the result of some processes of social imagination. In such case, one wonders to which extent the cultural and political efforts made to rationalize fear may be effective. The second part (to be published soon) examines a possible reason for fear, based on the assumption that it may depend on an altered relationship between risk and confidence. As such, fear may be contrasted by adopting political measures and cultural actions that strengthen confidence as a social feeling of fundamental importance.

(Author: Paolo Boschini)

Summary ed.28 (II/2010)