Modern political reality is increasingly permeated with testimonies and representations of social and personal anxieties. Most often these narratives are accompanied with a desire to identify and implement a ‘cure’ that will either heal or eradicate the source of discomfort. In the political everyday such a ‘cure’ is disguised as a policy or a new law. Thus it comes as a little surprise that the term anxiety is increasingly used by politicians, policy-makers, legal and medical experts as well as scholars to explain an allegedly new social phenomenon. Relying on psychoanalysis and critical theory the contributions in this special issue tackle modern anxieties in the realms of politics and law, and in particular look into how anxiety is manifested in relation to resistance, immigration, nationalism and austerity measures. This introduction firstly, unpacks the idea of anxiety conceptually and offers different ways in which anxiety can be read politically, legally as well as theoretically; and secondly introduces the arguments put forward in individual contributions.