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Summers, F. (2017). Fear and its vicissitudes. Int. Forum Psychoanal., 26(3):186-192.

(2017). International Forum of Psychoanalysis, 26(3):186-192

Fear and its vicissitudes

Frank Summers

The USA has been a changed society since 9/11: the Zeitgeist either has a background of low-level angst, or when an attack occurs or a threat is sounded, the fear peaks and comes to the foreground for a time. Perhaps nothing demonstrates the degree to which fear permeates contemporary culture more than the continual presence of the measures the USA takes to be safe: airport security, the Patriot Act, the mining of formerly private information by the government, to name but a few. Can we account for the pervasive nature of fear solely by the devastating and deadly attacks 15 years ago, unspeakably horrifying though they were? This paper will explore this omnipresent fear in contemporary American culture from a psychoanalytic perspective, and in so doing hopes to shed light on the nature of that fear, why it is so persistent despite 15 years without any sequels, and what the consequences of that fear are for the American way of life. The discussion will be rounded out by linking this pervasive fear to the violence that is endemic to our age.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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