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Berenskoetter, Felix (2020) 'Anxiety, Time, and Agency.' International Theory, 12 (2). pp. 273-290.

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This article scrutinizes two concepts central to the ontological security framework, agency and anxiety. Its point of departure is the view that conceptions of agency are expressed in the attempt to become ontologically secure, which requires a more careful look at how humans try to satisfy the need for a ‘stable sense of Self’ by putting in place ‘anxiety controlling mechanisms’. This, in turn, raises the question what these mechanisms are supposed to control, which shifts attention to the concept of ‘anxiety’. Going back to Kierkegaard’s original treatment and Heidegger’s existential phenomenology, the article reviews the emergence of anxiety as a core feature of the human condition and highlights what it calls the ‘anxiety paradox’: the tendency of reflexive humans facing the freedom of being in time to attach themselves to constructs that provide a sense of temporal continuity, or certainty. The article argues that the existing ontological security literature is trapped in this paradox and therefore cannot account for radical forms of agency.

Item Type: Journal Article
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Politics & International Studies
ISSN: 17529719
Copyright Statement: © The Author(s), 2020. This is the accepted manuscript of an article published by Cambridge University Press in International Theory:
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 09 Mar 2020 14:49

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