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Life without a safety net

Society of fear
Forfatter: Heinz Bude
Forlag: Polity Press (Storbritannia)
The anxiety has become a private matter and this is dangerous, writes author Heinz Bude in the Society of Fear – an essayistic gem of a sociology book.

It is about the risk society, about changing moods, weathering relationships, but first and foremost about the concept of anxiety, to quote Kierkegaard – a source the author Heinz Bude makes frequent use of. Bude writes within the great tradition, inspired also by other philosophers such as Riesman, Adorno and Heidegger, but stays considerably closer to the ground than the latter. With an early reference to Niklas Luhmann in the book's introduction, he gives anxiety a prominent position in his conceptual universe: "perhaps the only a priori principle in modern society, and of which all members of society are equal". This elevation of the concept of anxiety and the designation of the mood of anxiety to a unique indi- cation of the social state, is reminiscent of Heidegger's approach in the main work Time and time, but hopefully have completely different political implications.

Today's Germans experience status anxiety, fear of losing, fear of inflation and poverty, of exclusion and loss of identity, of terrorism, of deprivation of liberty, environmental disasters and control of "Big Brother". The listing can be made almost endless, but it is not just about setting up lists. Anxiety, as Bude describes it, is a principle, perhaps a category, as Kant thought, that enables and. . .

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Sigurd Ohrem
Ohrem is a writer for Ny Tid.

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