Terrorism and the Politics of Fear by David L. Altheide
This text explains how the social construction of fear is used to steer public and foreign policy, arguing that security policies to protect the citizenry have become control systems that curtail privacy and civil liberties. It has been updated with analysis of recent events, ranging from Israeli-Hamas wars to the growing impact of social media.
This thoughtful text demonstrates how the mass media constructs a politics of fear in the United States. Using a social interactionist perspective, the chapters examines such issues as the expansion of surveillance on the Internet, the construction of a terrorism-fighting hero to promote patriotism, the use of social media by terror groups, the fear of the other fostered by the refugee crisis and western radicalization, as well as the mass-mediated reaction to recent terrorist attacks. Also covered are the politics of fear involving disease (Ebola, Zika), social control efforts, and harsh attacks on American governmental officials for not keeping people safe from harm. All chapters in this new edition have been updated with descriptions and relevant analysis of significant events, including two Israeli-Hamas wars, terrorism attacks (e.g., Boston Marathon, Charlie Hebdo, San Bernadino, etc.), global reactions-often hostility-to refugees in the United States and especially Europe, the development of ISIS, surveillance (Wiki Leaks, Snowden, NSA), and the growing significance of social media. The text explains how the social construction of fear is used to steer public and foreign policy, arguing that security policies to protect the citizenry from violence have become control systems that most often curtail privacy and civil liberties.
About the Author: David Altheide is Regents' Professor Emeritus on the faculty of Justice and Social Inquiry in the School of Social Transformation at Arizona State University.
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