General information

Course type AMUPIE
Module title Sociology Of Fear
Language English
Module lecturer dr Krzysztof Mączka
Lecturer's email
Lecturer position Adiunkt
Faculty Faculty of Sociology
Semester 2022/2023 (summer)
Duration 30
USOS code 24-PIE-SOF


Will be specified later

Module aim (aims)

Currently, anxieties and fears upset the social order, earning it the name “risk society” (Beck, Giddens) and forcing us to adopt smart public policies that will enable us to better cope with particular risks. Such risk-thinking tends to grow and result in policies designed to prevent not only actual dangers but also potential ones, of which the number is infinite. As many contemporary risks are collective (i.e., affect groups or nations) or future-oriented (appear years into the future), foreseeing or controlling them precisely is impossible. Although such risks as famine, war, crime, natural disasters, etc., have always existed, their effect is minimal in these modern times. Instead, the quality of risks has changed, as current risks are now socially generated and connected with technological progress and environmental damage. Important examples of these are climate change, weather anomalies, scarcity of potable drinking water, and significant decreases in agricultural yield, all related to the deteriorating quality of the natural environment and hence a global common good providing humans with valuable resources.

This course will examine the significance of current fear and anxiety in shaping and organizing social life. We will develop an understanding of the complexity of fear and anxiety their relationship to social order and cultural meanings. In particular, we focus on how fear and anxiety are currently employed as socio-political instruments.

Pre-requisites in terms of knowledge, skills and social competences (where relevant)

Communicative English skills


General schedule:

  1. Eight meetings will consist of short lectures, quizzes, workshops, and discussions on readings.
  2. Four meetings will consist of the work on group projects and consultation with the lecturer.
  3. Three meetings will consist of presentations of group projects, critics, and feedback.

The preliminary list of topics for students projects:

The list will be developed before the first classes. Students could propose their own topic under lecturer acceptance.

Note: I reserve the right to shift readings and assignments as best suits the pace of the class, or that makes room for special visits from guest speakers or other relevant events (after consultations with students). Students should be reminded that it is their responsibility to keep abreast of such changes.

Reading list

  1. Bauman, Z., 2006. Liquid fear. Polity Press, Cambridge.
  2. Ewald, F., 1993. Two Infinities of Risk, in: Massumi, B. (Ed.), The Politics of Everyday Fear. Minneapolis and London.
  3. Furedi, F., 2019. How fear works : culture of fear in the twenty-first century. Bloomsbury Continuum, London.
  4. Garland, D. (2008). On the concept of moral panic. Crime, Media, Culture, 4(1), 9-30.
  5. Hansson, S.O., 2020. How Extreme Is the Precautionary Principle? Nanoethics 14, 245–257.
  6. Rebughini, P. 2021. A sociology of anxiety: Western modern legacy and the Covid-19 outbreak. International Sociology, 36(4), 554-568.
  7. Sik, D. (2020). Towards a social theory of fear: A phenomenology of negative integration. European Journal of Social Theory, 23(4), 512-531.
  8. Svendsen, L.F.H., 2008. A philosophy of fear. Reaktion, London
  9. Tudor, A. (2003). A (macro) sociology of fear?. The Sociological Review, 51(2), 238-256.