In Defence of Fear
In political rhetoric, academic analysis, social theory and everyday speech, fear is characterised as a limitation or an obstacle to be overcome – see turns of phrase such as ‘culture of fear,’ ‘management by fear’ and so on. This introduction argues for a more useful conception of fear, based on Ernst Bloch’s continuum of ‘negative expectant emotions,’ and combines this with a Sartrean conception of the absurdity of human existence to establish the function of monsters in human culture. In short, monsters reveal the limitations of our ideologically constructed world by breaking it: history cannot continue in their presence; they refute humanity’s ownership of the world, and traditionally, they have occupied spaces where human civilization cannot or will not go. Each monster disrupts history in a way particular to itself, and this chapter lays the groundwork for further analysis along those lines.
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