Frank Furedi is a sociologist and social commentator. Since the late 1990s, he has been widely cited about his views on why Western societies find it so difficult to engage with risk and uncertainty. He has published widely about controversies relating to issues such as health, parenting children, food and new technology. His book Invitation To Terror: Expanding the Empire of the Unknown (2007) explores the way in which the threat of terrorism has become amplified through the ascendancy of precautionary thinking. It develops the arguments contained in two previous books, Culture of Fear (2002) and Paranoid Parenting (2001). Both of these works investigate the interaction between risk consciousness and perceptions of fear, trust relations and social capital in contemporary society.
Frank has also written extensively about issues to do with education and cultural life. His book, Wasted: Why education Is not educating (2009), deals with the influence of the erosion of adult authority on schooling. On Tolerance (2011) offers a restatement of the importance of this concept for an open society. Authority: a sociological history (2013) examines how the modern world has become far more comfortable with questioning authority than with affirming it.
Frank is committed to promoting the ideals of a humanist education and his writings on higher education are devoted to affirming the value of the liberal arts. His most recent book, Power Of Reading: From Socrates to Twitter (2015), outlines the case for a liberal humanist conception of a culture of reading.
Frank’s books and articles offer an authoritative yet lively account of key developments in contemporary cultural life. Using his insights as a professional sociologist, he has produced a series of agenda-setting books that have been widely discussed in the media. His books have been translated into 13 languages.
Frank regularly comments on radio and television. He has appeared on Newsnight, Sky News and BBC News, Radio Four’s Today programme, and a variety of other radio television shows. Internationally, he has been interviewed by the media in Australia, Canada, the United States, Poland, Holland, Belgium, Brazil and Germany.
On Tolerance: The Life Style Wars: A Defence of Moral Independence (Continuum, 2011)
Wasted: Why Education is Not Educating (Continuum, 2009)
Invitation to Terror: The Expanding Empire of the Unknown (Continuum, 2007)
Where Have All the Intellectual Gone? Confronting 21st Century Philistinism (Continuum, 2005)
Sex in the brain: do men and women think differently?
"I was impressed by the intensity of the debate and the high level of intellectual engagement, not least by the audience. It was an invigorating, even exhilarating experience to be part of a festival based on the conviction that disagreement is good. The Battle of Ideas is a fantastic concept, may it spread epidemically to the rest of the world. I am already looking forward to next year's event."
Thomas Hylland Eriksen, professor of social anthropology, University of Oslo; novelist