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Neuropolitics

Thinking, Culture, Speed

2002
Author:

William E. Connolly

Neuropolitics

A surprising exploration of connections between culture, neuroscience, and our experience of time.

By taking up recent research in neuroscience to explore the way brain activity is influenced by cultural conditions and stimuli such as film technique, Connolly is able to fashion a new perspective on our attempts to negotiate—and thrive—within a deeply pluralized society whose culture and economy continue to quicken.

Who else but Connolly could make brain research and film interpretation illuminate each other in this way? It’s a splendid set of moves and makes this book comparable to no other, not only in political theory, but in cultural theory, film studies, and psychology.

Wendy Brown, University of California, Berkeley

Why would a political theorist venture into the nexus between neuroscience and film? According to William Connolly—whose new book is itself an eloquent answer—the combination exposes the ubiquitous role that technique plays in thinking, ethics, and politics. By taking up recent research in neuroscience to explore the way brain activity is influenced by cultural conditions and stimuli such as film technique, Connolly is able to fashion a new perspective on our attempts to negotiate-and thrive-within a deeply pluralized society whose culture and economy continue to quicken.

In Neuropolitics Connolly draws upon recent brain/body research to explore the creative potential of thinking, the layered character of culture, the cultivation of ethical sensibilities, and the critical role of technique in all three. He then shows how a series of films-including Vertigo, Five Easy Pieces, and Citizen Kane-enhances our appreciation of technique and contests the linear image of time now prevalent in cultural theory.

Connolly deftly brings these themes together to support an ethos of deep pluralism within the democratic state and a politics of citizen activism across states. His book is an original and rigorous study that attends to the creative possibilities of thinking in identity, culture, and ethics.

Neuropolitics

William E. Connolly is professor and chair of the Department of Political Science at The Johns Hopkins University.

Neuropolitics

Who else but Connolly could make brain research and film interpretation illuminate each other in this way? It’s a splendid set of moves and makes this book comparable to no other, not only in political theory, but in cultural theory, film studies, and psychology.

Wendy Brown, University of California, Berkeley

Connolly draws attention to the important role that technique, discipline, and 'arts of the self' can play in shaping political personae and culture. He brings together a novel assemblage of intellectual objects including new approaches to neurophysiology and contemporary cinema.

Paul Patton, University of New South Wales

Neuropolitics provides a much-needed stimulus to the pursuit of new scientific, ethical, and political ideals. Connolly has done a superb job in encouraging us to think beyond the mechanistic and cultural paradigms that have dominated Western scientific and social thought for so long.

Anthropological Theory

William Connolly has perhaps no equal when it comes to gathering insights from poststructuralism and postmodernism and giving them an affirmative momentum. Neuropolitics is an immensely creative contribution.

Perspectives on Politics

As well as going well beyond the array of disciplines on which political theorists usually draw, Neuropolitics is impressive in its ethical range.

Radical Philosophy

Neuropolitics is a sort of postsecular, democratic primer on asceticism for the twenty-first century, a theoretical and practical effort to bring ‘relational techniques of the self’ into the main currents of political theory. Neuropolitics is choreographed with exuberance and invention.

Journal of Religious Studies

He simplifies the political dimensions of his argument to such a degree that it becomes impressively sterile.

Mute

Neuropolitics

Contents

Preface

Chapter 1. The Body/Brain/Culture Network
Chapter 2. The Color of Perception
Chapter 3. Nature, Affect, Thinking...
Chapter 4. Techniques of Thought and Micropolitics
Chapter 5. Memory Traces, Mystical States, and Deep Pluralism
Chapter 6. Democracy and Time
Chapter 7. Eccentric Flows and Cosmopolitan Culture

Notes

Index