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26 September 2005Printer-friendly versionEmail a friend

Reflections on the future
In New York this Friday, three leading intellectuals will interrogate and debate politics in the twenty-first century. Here, they outline their views.

by Frank Furedi, Russell Jacoby, Richard Sennett

In New York this Friday, leading public intellectuals Frank Furedi, Russell Jacoby and Richard Sennett will take part in a debate entitled 'Reflections on the future: thinking politically in the twenty-first century'. Here, they outline their views:

The market in fear, by Frank Furedi

In a new essay for spiked, Furedi argues: 'In one sense, the term "politics of fear" is a misnomer. Although promoted by parties and advocacy groups, it expresses the renunciation of politics. Unlike the politics of fear pursued by authoritarian regimes and dictatorships, today's politics of fear has no clearly focused objective other than to express claims in a language that enjoys a wider cultural resonance. The distinct feature of our time is not the cultivation of fear but the cultivation of our sense of vulnerability....' Read on

Making possible the impossible, by Russell Jacoby

'History defines the search for the best society and government. It was never an absolute, and was always defined by "the possible". But how does one interpret "the possible"? That is the issue. Possible/impossible are rhetorical and historical terms. I've always liked the line attributed to the great anarchist Bakunin: "I shall continue to be an impossible person as long as those who are now possible remain possible." Today we tend to think very little is possible: to chip away at air pollution, or end one local war. But why? Maybe we have surrendered our thinking and imagining....' Read on

Fragmented politics, fragmented lives, by Richard Sennett

'The insurgents of my Sixties youth believed that by dismantling institutions we could produce communities: face-to-face relations of trust and solidarity, relations constantly negotiated and renewed, a communal realm in which people became sensitive to one another's needs. This certainly has not happened. The fragmenting of big institutions has left many people's lives in a fragmented state: the places they work more resembling train stations than villages, family life disoriented by the demands of work; migration is the icon of the global age, moving on rather than settling in....' Read on

The debate 'Reflections on the future' is hosted by the New York Salon in association with New York Public Radio, and will take place at 6.30pm at the CUNY Graduate Center on Fifth Avenue this Friday, 30 September. It's a free event. For more details, visit the New York Salon website here.

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