It seems that today persons experience a general condition of fear because of a several events in the last years. The big economic crisis, the phenomenon of refugees, the raise of terrorism or the Brexit seem to create a climate of generalized worry.
Fear is one of the basic emotions and can be very useful for survival. But what happens to people when it becomes an everyday existential condition?
Human beings have elaborated a lot of ways to deal with fear, like for instance religion an art. Sometimes they serve to relief from fear of the uncertain and some other times they serve to use fear to regulate the social life. For instance, many religions have represented the fear of Hell as a way to regulate people conduct, while at the same time representing faith as a way to relief from the fear of the uncertain future. Is it the same with politics, when for instance is talking about refuges or economic crisis?
In order to explore these question, Luca Tateo, lektor at the Department of Communication and Psychology and member of the Centre for Cultural Psychology has been awarded by the Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation of the International Network Programme Grant in 2017 for DKK 265.058.
The project title is “The administration of fear: using art to study psycho-social phenomena” and will be developed in collaboration with the Department of Psychology at the New School for Social Research (NSSR) and with the Rubin Museum of Art in New York to investigate the processes of collective management of fear and the related socio-psychological phenomena from different cultural perspectives.
The project team includes professor Jaan Valsiner, professor Brady Wagoner, Ignacio Bresco Pina Marsico form the Centre of Cultural Psychology and Tatiana Chemi from art and learning.
The study will use a very innovative perspective, trying to understand how human beings have expressed the fear in art and media in different cultures. In particular, the project will compare Europe, America and India and will confront the Christian and the Buddhist philosophical traditions, that have completely different understanding of concept of fear.
If we can understand the existential experience of fear, at both personal and collective levels, and how it is used to promote or inhibit social conducts, we can maybe become more critical towards all those who are trying to use fear to affect our personal and collective choices.
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