The Mechanics of Passion: Brain, Behaviour, and Society (Hardcover)

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Cognitive neuroscience, once a specialized area of psychology and biology, has enjoyed increased worldwide legitimacy in the last thirty years not only in psychiatry and mental health, but also in fields as diverse as education, economics, marketing, and law. How can this surge in popularity be explained? Has the new science of human behaviour now become the barometer of our conduct and our lives, taking the place previously occupied by psychoanalysis? Rather than asking if neuronal man will replace social man or how to surmount the opposition between the biological and the social, The Mechanics of Passions uncovers hidden relationships between global social ideals and specialized concepts of neuroscience and cognitive science. Proposing a historical sociology situated in the dual contexts of the history of sciences and the history of self-representation, Alain Ehrenberg describes the conditions through which cognitive neuroscience has developed and acquired a strong moral authority in our individualistic society permeated by ideas, values, and norms of autonomy. Cognitive neuroscience offers the promise of turning personal limitations into assets by exploring an individual's "hidden potential." The Mechanics of Passions identifies this as the echo of social ideals of autonomy, affirming that the moral authority of cognitive neuroscience stems as much from cultural norms as from any results of scientific or medical experimentation.

About the Author

Alain Ehrenberg is a sociologist, the director of CESAMES (Research Center on Mental Health, Psychotropics and Society, Paris Descartes University), senior researcher at CNRS, and the author of several books on contemporary individualism.

Praise For…

"Ehrenberg further anchors his work on contemporary self-determination and individualism." Les Échos

"Pursuing his study of forms of contemporary individualism, in La Mécanique des passions the sociologist Alain Ehrenberg looks at the cognitive neurosciences, which have become the 'barometer' of modernity, to determine what they modify in individual or social behaviors, and what image of the human being they produce." Libération

"Ehrenberg further anchors his work on contemporary self-determination and individualism." Les Échos
Product Details
ISBN: 9780228003427
ISBN-10: 0228003423
Publisher: McGill-Queen's University Press
Publication Date: September 23rd, 2020
Pages: 328