Chapter

Perilous Times

Robert Wuthnow

in Be Very Afraid

Published in print March 2010 | ISBN: 9780199730872
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199777389 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199730872.003.0001
Perilous Times

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This chapter argues that peril has become manageable only to the extent that large-scale organizations are considered capable of managing it. Individuals may imagine that their chances of survival are greater if they have a basement bomb shelter than if they do not; but in reality, few people build such shelters because they know the effect will be minuscule compared to the ability of people in power to start or avoid a nuclear holocaust. Having come to that realization about nuclear destruction, the ordinary person adopts a similar response to other threats. Terrorism, environmental threats, mass disease: all depend on the hope that experts somewhere will provide answers.

Keywords: peril; denial; problem solving; threats; large-scale organizations

Chapter.  8333 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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