Flying Against the Arrow
Provides a panoramic view of civilization and is written in a lively and informative style that will have wide-ranging appeal. Containing a wealth of facts, Hankiss’ landmark study is based on the central role fear and anxiety have played as the organizing motives of human existence and social life.
Hankiss argues that existential security has been a major factor in the generation of civilizations, perhaps even more important than mainsteam theories of culture offered by Kant, Freud and Foucault. Hankiss covers a plethora of subjects by which he explains that, in order to mitigate fear, human beings and communities have surrounded themselves – not only with the walls of their houses and cities, with instruments and weapons, laws and institutions, but also – with the protective spheres of symbols: myths and religions, values and belief systems, ideas and scientific theories, moral and practical rules of behaviour, and a wide range of everyday rituals and trivialities. Hankiss pays particular attention to the role of symbols and symbolic systems in contemporary societies.
Fears and Symbols is an encyclopedic study that will be of interest not only across all levels of study, covering many disciplines – cultural studies, sociology, cultural anthropology, comparative religion, cultural and social history – but will also appeal to the general reader.