enlightened catastrophism
January 21, 2010, 1:49 am
Filed under: brave new world | Tags: , , , , ,

Different cultures react differently to security and risk.  Take for example the French and the Americans:  one reluctant and secretive and the other anxious and xenophobic.

From Urban Age’s Civilizing Security in New York:

What distinguishes New York and Paris?

1. Different national rhetoric

French Approach: “enlightened catastrophism” (Jean-Pierre Dupuy)

• Reluctance to overreact and to create “moral panics”.

• Culture of secrecy among high-ranking French bureaucrats.

• French state: pivotal role in the production of social trust and solidarity.

American Approach: anxiety without an object (Habermas)

• A discourse of “war”.

• A state of constant citizen alert and anxiety.

• The construction of referents of otherness, the alien, dirty and subversive.

Civilizing Security in New York:  A View from Europe, Sophie Body-Gendrot


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