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Fake News, Paradigm of Fear & Sustainability

Fake News, Paradigm of Fear & Sustainability: Research Report on Climate Fear(s)

Abstract:

News manipulation is now a much-discussed reality of 21st century media ethics. Daniel Khaneman has identified that people have a tendency to respond to complex issues in a problematic manner – often making use of instincts (System 1 or S1) in knee jerk responses when a more rational (Systems 2 or S2) approach might be more appropriate. Simply put, human beings have a flawed process for problem structuring. In research carried out between 2015-16 with people engaged in and concerned with climate change, a series of interviews were undertaken concerning public attitudes to fear as a major force in the climate change debate.The results have paved the way to describing a process – the “paradigm of fear,” whereby fear can be weaponised in order to promote knee jerk responses to complex issues. The results of the research were published in a book (Formations of Terror) and a comic (Project Fear)* but lasting questions remain to be addressed: Is fear weaponised by lobbyists in order to promote public response? If fear is weaponised to prompt populations to change, is such action ethical and responsible? Do climate change activists have a responsibility to orientate arguments to the rational and reflective rather than the instinctive and automatic? Describing the formations of terror as a device for fear management, this paper explores the ways in which fear can and is used by all sides in the climate change debate and raises questions about the ethics of social manipulation for even the best of causes.

Simon Bell, United Kingdom

[Sen. Ed. Note: Bell prefers the title: “Fake News, Fear, Sustainability and the Paradigm of Fear: The Weaponization of Fear as a Lever for the Good?” ]

Much of this paper is drawn from and builds upon an earlier book. The fuller version of this paper is to be found in Bell, S. 2017. Formations of Terror. Newcastle Upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars

*For more info: https://fearlessnessmovement.ning.com/blog/operation-project-fear-the-open-university-uk pp. 91-107

Project Fear Comic Formations of Terror Simon Bell

The Project Fear Comic

The project fear comic – find out how fear is weaponised and targeted and how to avoid making things worse! This comic is an easy access point to understand the Formations of Terror (2017.)

Video Link

Bell S. The Project Fear comic
http://open.edu/openlearn/project-fear

Formations of Terror

There are a host of books about fear but, as yet, there has been little attempt to methodically and systemically assess how fear emerges and is targeted. This highly readable yet rigorous book sets about the methodical assessment of fear as an emergent property. Working from the personal experience of fear as ‘everyman’, and then using examples and case studies, it explores the main principles which lie behind the manifestation of fear of all kinds. Using climate change as its specific point of focus, fear is seen to be a major force in problem assessment and analysis and, by accident or intention, a significant confusion to human decision making. By the systemic development of the main features of the Paradigm of Fear and the identification of Fear Amplifying and Fear Attenuating systems, the book demonstrates how fear can be contained, how new social forms can arise and how new behaviours and social qualities can mitigate the Formations of Terror.

2017 S.Bell Formations of Terror
http://www.cambridgescholars.com/formations-of-terror-2

Understanding fear – Introducing the Formations of Terror

Organisations and individuals suffer from fear – probably more than they like to admit. Numerous decisions are made based on underlying fears and anxieties but how can we map out and gain power over fearful things? There are a host of books about fear but, there has been little attempt to methodically and systemically assess how fear emerges and is targeted. In exploring the Formations of Terror or FoT participants set about the methodical assessment of fear as an emergent property. Working from personal experience of fear and teaching by use of examples and case studies, the FoT method will derive the main principles which lie behind the manifestation of fear of all kinds. Using climate change as a specific point of focus, fear is seen to be a major force in problem assessment and analysis and, by accident or intention, a significant confusion to human decision making. By studying the FoT, participants will gain a systemic assessment of the main features of the Paradigm of Fear. Furthermore, they will be able to identify Fear Amplifying and Fear Attenuating systems and learn how fear can be contained, how new social forms can arise and how new behaviours and social qualities can mitigate the Formations of Terror.

http://www.cambridgescholars.com/formations-of-terror-2

The Project Fear comic

http://open.edu/openlearn/projectfear

Find out how fear is weaponised and targeted and how to avoid making things worse! This comic an easy access point to understand the Formations of Terror.

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