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Fear and Institutions


  • Mary Wrenn


Fear allowed early humans to adapt, evolve, and survive. When humans moved into settled communities, with more advanced means of production, the nature of fear — much like the nature of social relationships — changed. Once the means of social reproduction were secured, fear became less necessary as a survival instinct, and more useful as a heuristic device. Fear cannot be characterized as an essentially socially constructed phenomenon, or as the self-contained, individualized response to internalized traumas. The growth and nature of fear must be studied as a process that develops under its own inertia and as a phenomenon that is both shaped by and shapes its institutional setting. Fear should be understood as both structurally determined and socially transformative. This research examines fear, specifically, as it relates to neoliberalism and institutions.

Suggested Citation

  • Mary Wrenn, 2013. "Fear and Institutions," Journal of Economic Issues, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(2), pages 383-390.
  • Handle: RePEc:mes:jeciss:v:47:y:2013:i:2:p:383-390
    DOI: 10.2753/JEI0021-3624470211

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