Nr. 5-6 /2017 -4

The article sets out to explore the question of social fears from a sociological perspective. The first part of the article brings to the fore the question of state capacity and argues that social fears may be influenced by the quality and quantity of one specific state’s critical infrastructure considering that risks perceptions depend mainly on the public institutions’ record of coping with natural or technological disasters. The second part of the article addresses the issue of social trauma by presenting traumatic events that have put to the test one state’s critical infrastructure and thus the ability of a certain state to enforce the social contract and to reproduce convincingly the meaning of citizenship. The last section of the article sets out to operationalize social fears and offers a short outline of how to bring under scrutiny the issue of social fears from a sociological perspective.

Keywords: social fears, social trauma, state capacity, risk perception, sociology of social fears.

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