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Brain, Self and Society: the social and political implications of the new brain sciences

Professor Nikolas Rose, Martin White Professor of Sociology at LSE and director of LSE's BIOS research centre, has been awarded an ESRC Professorial Research Fellowship for a three year project entitled 'Brain, Self and Society in the 21st Century'.

This three year research programme is to explore whether the 'new brain sciences' (molecular neuroscience, psychiatric genetics, findings on neurogenesis, brain imaging, psychopharmaceuticals' novel neurotechnologies) are having as significant an impact on the 21st century as the birth of psychological conceptions of personhood did in the 20th century.

Through a programme of historical research, documentary analysis, interviews and a series of case studies, the research will describe the extent to which ways of thinking about and acting on ourselves are being reshaped by the new brain sciences, and with what consequences.

He said: 'I will map the extent to which the new brain sciences are changing forms of professional authority, redrawing the divisions of normality and abnormality, reconfiguring practices of control, impacting on the military and security apparatus, and reshaping ideas of selfhood and identity.'

In particular, the research will examine the impact of these developments through specific case studies of approaches to mental distress in the courtroom and criminal justice system, and in the military and security apparatus. This will provide the basis for judgments about their implications and contribute to policy debates about the regulation and use of these knowledges and technologies in psychiatric, forensic, penal and military settings.

Project funding includes support for a small research team, for the development of research networks, and for the dissemination of the results through a programme of lectures, workshops and conferences.


Contact Professor Nikolas Rose at email: n.rose@lse.ac.uk 


About ESRC
The ESRC is the UK's largest funding agency for research and postgraduate training relating to social and economic issues. It provides independent, high quality, relevant research to business, the public sector and Government. At any one time the ESRC supports over 4,000 researchers and postgraduate students in academic institutions and research policy institutes. See www.esrcsocietytoday.ac.uk

15 May 2007