Fear As Politics

Fear is fast becoming - if it has not already become - a central object of analysis for understanding today's politics. As fear is, supposedly, increasingly saturating our everyday lives, politicians and political strategists of all ideological stripes are rediscovering that fear is a handy tool in influencing voters. Our argument, however, is that rather than simply seeing the most recent exercise of a "politics of fear," our contemporary moment is distinguished by the emergence of "fear as politics". The paper argues that rather than fear acting as an expedient but ad hoc political tool, it has become the de facto essence of politics. Fear now provides the impetus and reason for politics, substituting other sources of legitimation of power such as democracy, justice, and the common good. The argument of the authors is being developed in a three-step process. Firstly - the authors argue - fear has become a projection of the political will aiming at changing existing order - that is to say that fear becomes the main reason and main motive for institutional / social change domestically and internationally. Secondly, fear cements power relations by creating a new "political dogma", a supra-ideology of sorts that being trans-ideological in spectrum (that is to say, "fear" becomes enclosed in every current ideology from populism to neo-conservatism), and shapes and restricts social imagination and political action. Thirdly - authors continue - fear provides alternative legitimization of state authority and action (that is to say that fear provides justification and sense of purpose for those in power). The authors have provided a set of interlocked ideas to show that fear can be rationalized, operationalized, that it is imbedded into diversified social strata, included into mainstream politics, politically utilized and form a bedrock of the new regnum (with a rationality based on fear) by whoever play politics.

Dutkiewicz P.1 , Kazarinova D.B. 2
Noncommercial Partnership Editorial Board Polis
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  • 1 Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada
  • 2 Russian Peoples' Friendship University (RUDN), Moscow, Russian Federation
Ключевые слова
Fear as politics; Fear-ization; Interregnum; Liquid modernity; Long XX century; New regnum; Politics of fear
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