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After 9/11, research on the perceived threat of terrorism moved in several directions. Some scholars examined the social construction of terrorism, scrutinizing the political rhetoric and media coverage associated with the threat. Other researchers investigated the public’s elevated worries about terrorism and their effect on public opinion, while still other analysts elucidated the post-9/11 changes in U.S. foreign and domestic policies.
In Freaking Out: A Decade of Living with Terrorism, Joshua Woods unites these areas of research, interweaving the sociology and psychology of terrorism, to create a broader and more compelling explanation of how the attacks on 9/11 have changed American society. Offering a concise review of the shifting policy arena in the post-9/11 era, Woods chronicles not only major U.S. government actions, such as the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, but also less visible changes, such as shifts in immigration policy and the use and abuse of Homeland Security funding by state and local governments.
Investigating the public’s response to terrorism, Woods examines the link between media coverage of terrorism and public perceptions of the threat, demonstrating how some news coverage elevates people’s worries more than others.
The events of 9/11 influenced the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of public officials, members of the press, and ordinary people. The reactions of these groups are deeply interrelated, but the study of them has remained isolated and compartmentalized across several academic disciplines until now. Demonstrating the virtue of multidisciplinary synthesis, this book advances the growing field of terrorism studies in new directions.