Western Fears vs Asian Fears
Is fear of a different nature in Western democratic societies compared to Eastern authoritarian societies? Asians may fear the return of war amongst themselves while Westerners mostly fear imported foreign violence (mainly terrorist) on their soil. But they are both united by a common increase in the fear of the unknown, with its concomitant, fear of the future.
Speaker: Professor Dominique Moisi
Professor Dominique Moisi is a founder and senior advisor at the French Institute for International Relations (IFRI), a professor at Institute d’Etudes Politiques (Sciences Po), and has been a Visiting Professor in the Department of Political Economy, King’s College London from 2012. He is also a regular contributor to BBC News, France 24, Foreign Affairs, Project Syndicate and the Financial Times. Professor Moisi’s highly acclaimed book, ‘The Geopolitics of Emotion: How Cultures of Fear, Humiliation and Hope are Reshaping the World’ was published in 2009.
In May 1981 Jean-Paul II survived an assassination attempt, whereas exactly thirty years later in May 2011 Osama Bin Laden was successfully eliminated by the United States Special Forces. Yet looking at the world in 2013, one would easily come to the conclusion that the man who taught the world “Have no Fear” has lost, whereas the religious fundamentalist, who wanted the world of “the Infidels” to be dominated by fear, has prevailed.
For fear is everywhere today. There is the fear of civil wars in the Arab world, the fear of civil unrest in Europe, the fear of war (in the most classical sense of the terms) in Asia. And this is not to mention the fear of climate changes, the fear of pollution of the planet, the fear of epidemics, the fear of cyber war….
How can we sublimate our fears, transcend them or at least canalize them?
Is this triumph of fear the result of globalization and therefore new? Or have there been, even partial, historical precedents?
How can one find the right balance between the need for Western societies to remain what they are, or at least should be, i.e. open and tolerant, respectful of the differences of the other, and the need to answer the call for greater protection against the multifaceted reality of threats imagined or real?
This series of five lectures will explore national as well as international dimensions of fear, combining political economic as well as psychological perspectives within a more global historical context.
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