Thucydides' Meditations on Fear

Thucydides' Meditations on Fear

Examining Contemporary Cases

By Raymond Taras

Adapting Greek philosopher Thucydides’ fivefold classification of fear, this book analyses fears emerging in contemporary great-power states facing existential crises in their identity politics. 

EPUB, 200 Pages


September 2023

£25.00, $35.00

PDF, 200 Pages


September 2023

£25.00, $35.00

  • About This Book
  • Reviews
  • Author Information
  • Series
  • Table of Contents
  • Links
  • Podcasts

About This Book

Examining today’s global politics by linking it to the meditations of a classical Greek philosopher may be counterintuitive to understanding a world in crisis. But for political analysts, policymakers, social media, bloggers, journalists, engaged students, the new influencers, and inquisitive citizens, Thucydides’ ancient wisdom may offer critical insights into detecting the endemic of political fear spreading across global borders. With his help and by applying his framework to six case studies, this book unearths the different facets of fear that define a world in crisis.

Fear is a pervasive term used to describe a group’s or individual’s sense of insecurity, threat, and angst. It identifies other subtle dimensions comprising suspicion, scepticism, wariness, dread, horror, stupefication, and moral panic. These events may arise in the very near future or affect society at some later point, as Thucydides discovered in his analysis. Disaggregating political fear makes us aware of its complexities as the classical Greek writer set out twenty-five centuries ago. Framing his study to today’s fears results in significant ramifications for democracy and rivalries between states. 

Thucydides’ meditations on fear is about six intriguing case studies structuring political fear: national fear which caused the Brexit outcome in the UK; a regional kind fomenting fear of foreigners in Germany’s Saxony state; an ethnic dimension emerging in a Russia fearful of too much in-migration; an individual case of a Japanese artist experiencing angst when caught between adversaries in World War II; fear of interstate relations shaping Australia’s troubled connections to China; and the precariousness of identity as the U.S. began to embrace tribal politics. In all this, can a rejuvenated liberal theory unpacking a heavy dose of tolerance overcome symbolic liberalism and slam the door on ever-mounting political fear?


This book represents a highly original and vivid reflection on the cultural and historical permutations of the political expressions of fear across contemporary country case studies. It is the work of a mature and creative scholar and embraces cultural, literary and ideational dimensions of nationalism— Molly O'Neal, PhD. Researcher, university lecturer on European politics, former US diplomat.

Author Information

Raymond Taras is author or editor of over twenty academic books in comparative politics and international relations specializing in Russia and Central European politics and migration studies.


No series for this title.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Thucydides’ Meditation on Fear; 1. Meditations on Fear: The Continuing Relevance of Thucydides; 2. National Fear: Brexit, Free Movement, Englishness; 3. Regional Fear: Saxony and the Far Right in Germany; 4. Ethnic Fear: Russia’s Management of Migration; 5. Individual Fear: Japan’s Americanized Artist; 6. Inter-state Fears: Inter-state Fears: Australia’s Linkages to China; 7. Identity Fears: Identity Fears: The United States and Tribal Politics; 8. Musings on Political Fear: Methods and Theories; Select Bibliography; Author’s Biography; Index


No Podcasts for this title.
Comodo SSL