Anxiety as social practice

  • Jackson P
  • Everts J
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Abstract

This paper advances a theory of anxiety as social practice. Distinguishing between individual anxieties and anxiety as a social condition, the paper suggests that anxiety has not been subject to the same level of theoretical scrutiny as related concepts such as risk, trust, or fear. Drawing on the existential philosophy of Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and Heidegger, the paper shows how contemporary anxieties involve the recognition of our own mortality and the destabilisation of established systems of meaning. The paper then turns to practice theory to show how social anxieties can be understood as events that rupture the fabric of everyday life, creating specific subjects and objects, 'framed' by different communities of practice, and becoming institutionalised to varying degrees. Focusing on a range of food-related anxieties, the paper explores the geographical and historical constitution of social anxiety, examining the process of anxiety formation and the factors that inhibit or enhance its social and spatial diffusion.

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Authors

  • Peter Jackson

  • Jonathan Everts

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