“The Administration of Fear — technology, politics and religion” seminar with Dave Andrews and Dr Paul Tyson on Thursday 4 May, 12 noon–2.30pm. RSVP here.
The French social theorist Paul Virilio has written an intriguing text titled “The Administration of Fear”. In this text, he points out that fear used to be seen as a weakness to be overcome, but is now seen as foundational to normality. The normalisation of invasive surveillance technologies such as mandatory biometric photographs for Queensland driver’s licences; the super abundance of increasingly smarter and robotic weapons; the militarisation and secretisation of immigration controls; the pre-emptive containment of security risks, such as the securitisation of Brisbane’s CBD for the visit of President Obama, complete with cordoning off city spaces and putting snipers on building tops; these are all seen as virtuous and sensible precautions in the prevailing climate of fear. Virilio is interested in why fear has become respectable, what this change entails for our way of life, and how the production and administration of fear — via the mass media and policy — has become highly politically significant to our contemporary way of life.
In this seminar, Dr Paul Tyson will outline insights from Virilio and Ellul’s philosophy of technology as it is relevant to “the administration of fear”. Dave Andrews will speak as a political activist about how the Australian political terrain has shifted since the turn of the century from one of universal rights and dignity to one of depersonalised threat containment, particularly in relation to indefinite off shore detention. Dave will also draw on his exploration into the causes and cures for religious violence and how the dynamic of religious violence is intimately entwined with the administration of fear. RSVP here.
Dave Andrews is particularly interested in radical spirituality, incarnational community and the dynamics of personal and social transformation. He is author of many books and articles. In India, Dave and Ange started a residential community called Aashiana out of which grew Sahara, Sharan and Sahasee — three community organisations working with slum dwellers, sex workers, drug addicts, and people with HIV/AIDS. They are currently a part of the Waiters Union, an inner-city community network working with Aborigines, refugees and people with disabilities in Brisbane. Out of the Waiters Union has grown the Community Initiatives Resource Association, auspicing experimental community activities, and the Community Praxis Coop, providing holistic community work training. Dave is a lecturer in community work at CHC, a trainer with Community Praxis Coop and an activist with Love Makes a Way. Dave is also an interfaith community worker and an honorary Christian member of AMARAH, Australian Muslim Advocates of the Rights of All Humanity.
Dr Paul Tyson has a social science undergraduate degree in politics and post-graduate degrees in philosophy, theology and sociology. His doctorate was in theological philosophy concerning the nature of knowledge and truth. He has also been a high-school teacher and chaplain. As the Director of the Emmanuel Centre for the Study of Science, Religion and Society the way in which knowledge, belief and politics interact with each other is of particular interest to him.