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Governing through the Brain

Neuropolitics, Neuroscience and Subjectivity

Nikolas Rose and Joelle Abi-Rached

This article considers how the brain has become an object and target for governing human beings. How, and to what extent, has governing the conduct of human beings come to require, presuppose and utilize a knowledge of the human brain? How, and with what consequences, are so many aspects of human existence coming to be problematized in terms of the brain? And what role are these new 'cerebral knowledges' and technologies coming to play in our contemporary forms of subjectification, and our ways of governing ourselves? After a brief historical excursus, we delineate four pathways through which neuroscience has left the lab and became entangled with the government of the living: psychopharmacology, brain imaging, neuroplasticity and genomics. We conclude by asking whether the 'psychological complex' of the twentieth century is giving way to a 'neurobiological complex' in the twenty-first, and, if so, how the social and human sciences should respond.

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Avatars and Robots

The Imaginary Present and the Socialities of the Inorganic

Henrietta L. Moore

This article explores the frailty of particular notions of 'actant' and 'affect' for an understanding of the emergent socialities that cross virtual and actual worlds. It uses work on robots and avatars to explore a humanly grounded theory of sociality. It discusses the virtual character of selves and social relations, and how forms of presence apparent in robotics and virtual worlds both enhance and augment our understanding of specifically human forms of sociality. It suggests that critiques of subject-object dualisms do not depend on a rejection of the distinctiveness of anthropos.

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Maryon McDonald

See www.berghahnjournals.com/cja . The lectures have been published as articles as follows: David Graeber, ‘Culture as Creative Refusal’ (CJA 31 (2): 1–19); Nikolas Rose and Joelle Abi-Rached, ‘Governing through the Brain: Neuropolitics, Neuroscience