Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Fear entrepreneurship on campus

Frank Furedi's website reproduces an article he published in the Times Higher Education Supplement on 16 September 2005. He looks at the role of academics in spreading scare stories in order to increase their influence and gain access to public funds.

He writes:
In a study on the social construction of the US "hate-crime epidemic", James Jacobs, director of the New York University Center for Research in Crime and Justice, and co-author Jessica Henry, point out that "proponents of social problems, believing that the more serious their problem, the more serious their demand for action, have appropriated the term 'epidemic' to mobilise public attention and government resources". Alarmist research has made a crucial contribution to the recent invention of "hate crime". And once a new crime has been invented and given a name, it is only a matter of time before it will appear to be on the rise.

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