Matteo Stocchetti

Knowledge, democracy and the politics of (cyber)fear



The experience of the Covid-19 pandemic has re-actualized the old idea that fear is inherent to the human condition and in some measure necessary for the preservation of political order. In political communication, the politics of fear is a notion describing a particular strategy, usually associated with the promotion of conservative or right-wing ideas and ideologies. In this strategy, one or more political actors seeks to increase their political influence through the communicative manipulation of relations of meaning associated to fear in society. Amplified by the media, this strategy can have deep transformative effects on politics and society, contributing, for example, to the radicalization of identity politics in ways that seems to have become increasingly influential in the 21st century. The main point of this paper is that the critical engagement with (cyber)fear requires the opening up of the epistemic dimension of the politics of (cyber)fear. The political role of fear and its impact on freedom, security and democracy is mediated by the role of the epistemic regimes, including their ideological aspects associated with the production of authoritative knowledge in society. In this perspective, the politics of (cyber)fear can be conceptualized as a strategy for the suppression of the radical potential of new technologies. The repressive effects of this strategy can be resisted through the development of critical knowledge and the support of critical epistemic competence in education.


  • Cyberfear
  • Politics of Fear
  • Freedom & Security
  • Democracy
  • Neoliberalism


Article first page

What do you think about the recent suggestion?

Trova nel catalogo di Worldcat