Is Concern about Safety Changing ?
The article seeks to demonstrate that the sudden rise in preoccupations with security and law and order at the time of the 2002 elections in France cannot be explained solely by circumstantial factors but reflects instead a profound transformation in these concerns. After the relevance and limitations of an analysis in purely circumstantial terms is shown, the main demonstration is constructed around the distinction that has been developed between fear and preoccupation. Data from a survey conducted with near-annual regularity from 1977 to 2002 are then used to demonstrate how security preoccupations have become repatterned since the mid-nineties in such a way that an autonomous version of this type of concern is now to be found in social groups previously reluctant to adopt an attitude of concern about security. The last part of the article discusses the import of the results obtained : How should they be interpreted, and how can they be expected to affect security policy ?