PROFESSOR FRANK FUREDI on Leadership Liberty and the Crisis of Authority


Leadership means many things but above all it requires a capacity and a willingness to make judgment calls. Yet society is surprisingly intolerant about allowing individuals to exercise initiative and judgment. Throughout the public and private sector petty rules and regulations restrain people from exercising discretion. Even businesses are forced to follow the paper trail rather than the intuition of their leaders. The cumulative effect of petty regulation is to create a climate where leadership is both restrained and devalued. The aim of this lecture is to explore how and why the crisis of authority needs to challenged through affirming the freedom to initiate and exercise judgment in every walk of life.

Frank Furedi is Professor of Sociology at the University of Kent in Canterbury. He is author of numerous books including Paranoid Parenting, Culture of Fear, Therapy Culture: Cultivating Vulnerability In An Uncertain Age, Where have All The Intellectuals Gone?: Confronting 21st Century Philistinism, Politics of Fear: Beyond Left and Right, and Invitation to Terror: The Expanding Empire of the Unknown. His latest book is On Tolerance: A Defence of Moral Independence.

Professor Furedi’s research is oriented towards the study of the workings of precautionary culture and risk aversion in Western societies. In his books he has explored controversies and panics over issues such as health, children, food, new technology and terrorism. At present he is completing a book on the rise of the Fear Market in contemporary society. The book, provisionally title Scaremongering, studies the role of competing groups – politicians, the media, advocacy organisations, and business – in the controversies that surround health, food, technology, terrorism and disasters.

Professor Furedi regularly appears international radio and television, as well as writing for publications such as for The Australian, The Guardian, The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Spiked On-line, the Christian Science Monitor, Harvard Business Review, and Die Welt.