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Fear

Across the Disciplines

Edited by Jan Plamper and Benjamin Lazier

Publication Year: 2012

This volume provides a cross-disciplinary examination of fear, that most unruly of our emotions, by offering a broad survey of the psychological, biological, and philosophical basis of fear in historical and contemporary contexts. The contributors, leading figures in clinical psychology, neuroscience, the social sciences, and the humanities, consider categories of intentionality, temporality, admixture, spectacle, and politics in evaluating conceptions of fear. Individual chapters treat manifestations of fear in the mass panic of the stock market crash of 1929, as spectacle in warfare and in horror films, and as a political tool to justify security measures in the wake of terrorist acts. They also describe the biological and evolutionary roots of fear, fear as innate versus learned behavior in both humans and animals, and conceptions of human “passions” and their self-mastery from late antiquity to the early modern era. Additionally, the contributors examine theories of intentional and non-intentional reactivity, the process of fear-memory coding, and contemporary psychology’s emphasis on anxiety disorders. Overall, the authors point to fear as a dense and variable web of responses to external and internal stimuli. Our thinking about these reactions is just as complex. In response, this volume opens a dialogue between science and the humanities to afford a more complete view of an emotion that has shaped human behavior since time immemorial.

Published by: University of Pittsburgh Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-

THIS EDITED VOLUME emerged from the workshop “Fear: Multidisciplinary Perspectives,” held at Princeton’s Shelby Cullom Davis Center for Historical Studies on April 12, 2008. “Fear” was the Davis Center’s theme for 2007...WE HABITUALLY SAY that we see fear, that we smell it, touch it, breathe it. But how, after all is said and done, do we know it? The chapters in this edited volume help us with just this question— how fear is variously constituted as an object of knowledge.1 The contributions to this book...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-15

WE HABITUALLY SAY that we see fear, that we smell it, touch it, breathe it. But how, after all is said and done, do we know it? The chapters in this edited volume help us with just this question— how fear is variously constituted as an object of knowledge.1 The contributions to this book emerged..

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1. FEAR, ANXIETY, AND THEIR DISORDERS

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pp. 15-34

THE PSYCHOLOGY OF fear is haunted by the ghost of Descartes. The traditional view of fear as a subjectively distinct feeling state accessible only to the person experiencing it seemingly implies a Cartesian dualism that harkens back to psychology’s prescientifi c past. Accordingly, psychologists keen to establish a science...

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2. THE BIOLOGY OF FEAR: EVOLUTIONARY, NEURAL, AND PSYCHOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVES

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pp. 35-50

FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT George Herbert Walker Bush and federal funding agencies dubbed the 1990s the Decade of the Brain.1 Indeed, thanks to an increase in funding and publicity there was a rare explosion in knowledge and research techniques...

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3. HOW DID FEAR BECOME A SCIENTIFIC OBJECT AND WHAT KIND OF OBJECT IS IT?

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pp. 51-77

WHEN ON SEPTEMBER 11, 2001, terrorists killed more than three thousand people in their attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City, for Americans in particular the world suddenly became a much more frightening place. Insecurity became the norm as the Bush administration’s new Department of Homeland....

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4. SOLDIERS AND EMOTION IN EARLY TWENTIETH-CENTURY RUSSIAN MILITARY PSYCHOLOGY

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pp. 78-98

LOOKING FOR THE emotion of soldierly fear in first-person accounts of the War of 1812 resembles the proverbial search for a needle in the haystack. One is more likely to discover overt absences that sound like this comment made by offi...

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5. FEAR OF A SAFE PLACE

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pp. 99-117

IN HER 1973 On Photography, Susan Sontag describes the West as “a society which makes it normative to aspire never to experience privation, failure, misery, pain, [or] dread disease, and in which death itself is regarded not as natural and inevitable but as a cruel, unmerited disaster.” The suggestion...

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6. THE LANGUAGE OF FEAR: SECURITY AND MODERN POLITICS

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pp. 118-131

MY TOPIC HERE is the political language of fear and one language in particular: security. There are other languages of fear: racism, religion, risk assessment, to name a few. But security, both national and domestic, is the most potent and...

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7. THE NEW YORK STOCK MARKET CRASH OF 1929

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pp. 132-147

THE U.S. STOCK market crash of October 1929 is indisputably history’s most famous financial collapse. It is evoked wherever and whenever financial sentiment becomes nervous. And policy recommendations for the following eighty years have consistently been made on the basis of analyses or presumptions of what...

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8. LIVING DEAD: FEARFUL ATTRACTIONS OF FILM

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pp. 148-170

FEAR AND FILM have always been intimate companions. One of cinema’s primal scenes testifies to this intimacy and originates from the medium’s very beginnings: the famous screening in 1895 of Louis and Auguste Lumière’s L’Arrivée d’un..

Notes

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pp. 171-228

Contributors

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pp. 229-232

Index

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pp. 233-237


E-ISBN-13: 9780822978138
E-ISBN-10: 082297813X
Print-ISBN-13: 9780822962205
Print-ISBN-10: 0822962209

Page Count: 240
Illustrations: 12 b&w photos
Publication Year: 2012