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Critical Neuroscience: A Handbook of the Social and Cultural Contexts of Neuroscience

Suparna Choudhury (Editor), Jan Slaby (Editor)
ISBN: 978-1-4443-3328-2
406 pages
November 2011, Wiley-Blackwell
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Critical Neuroscience: A Handbook of the Social and Cultural Contexts of Neuroscience brings together multi-disciplinary scholars from around the world to explore key social, historical and philosophical studies of neuroscience, and to analyze the socio-cultural implications of recent advances in the field. This text’s original, interdisciplinary approach explores the creative potential for engaging experimental neuroscience with social studies of neuroscience while furthering the dialogue between neuroscience and the disciplines of the social sciences and humanities. Critical Neuroscience transcends traditional skepticism, introducing novel ideas about ‘how to be critical’ in and about science.
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Table of Contents

About the editors.

About the contributors.


Introduction: Critical Neuroscience: Between Lifeworld and Laboratory (Suparna Choudhury and Jan Slaby).

Part I – Motivations and Foundations.

Chapter 1: Proposal for a Critical Neuroscience(Jan Slaby and Suparna Choudhury).

Chapter 2: The Need for a Critical Neuroscience. From Neuroideology to Neurotechnology (Steven Rose).

Chapter 3: Against First Nature. Critical Theory and Neuroscience (Martin Hartmann).

Chapter 4: Scanning the Lifeworld: Toward a Critical Neuroscience of Action and Interaction (Shaun Gallagher).

Part II – Histories of the Brain.

Chapter 5: Toys are Us. Models and Metaphors in Brain Science (Cornelius Borck).

Chapter 6: The Neuromance of Cerebral History(Max Stadler).

Chapter 7: Empathic Cruelty and the Origins of the Social Brain(Allan Young).

Part III – Neuroscience in Context: From Laboratory to Lifeworld.

Chapter 8: Disrupting Images: Neuroscientific representations in the lives of psychiatric patients (Simon Cohn).

Chapter 9: Critically Producing Brain Images of Mind(Joseph Dumit).

Chapter 10: Radical Reductions. Neurophysiology, Politics, and Personhood in Russian Addiction Medicine(Eugene Raikhel).

Chapter 11: Delirious Brain Chemistry and Controlled Culture: Exploring the Contextual Mediation of Drug Effects (Nicolas Langlitz).

Part IV – Situating the brain in context: from lifeworld back to laboratory?

Chapter 12: Critical Neuroscience: From Neuroimaging to Tea Leaves in the Bottom of a Cup (Amir Raz).

Chapter 13: The Salmon of Doubt: Six Months of Methodological Controversy within Social Neuroscience(Daniel Margulies).

Chapter 14: Cultural Neuroscience as Critical Neuroscience in Practice(Joan Y. Chiao and Bobby K. Cheon).

Part V – Beyond neural correlates: Ecological approaches to psychiatry.

Chapter 15: Re-Socializing Psychiatry: Critical Neuroscience and the Limits of Reductionism(Laurence J. Kirmayer and Ian Gold).

Chapter 16: Are Mental Illnesses Diseases of the Brain?(Thomas Fuchs).

Chapter 17: Are there neural correlates of depression?(Fernando Vidal and Francisco Ortega).

Chapter 18: The Future of Critical Neuroscience (Laurence J. Kirmayer).

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Author Information

Suparna Choudhury is Junior Professor at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science and the Berlin Institute for Mind and Brain, Humboldt University, Germany. Her research examines the emergence of the ?neurological adolescent'. She has also published on cultural neuroscience and topics at the intersection of neuroscience and society.

Jan Slaby is Junior Professor in Philosophy of Mind and Emotion at Free University Berlin, Germany. The author of a German-language book exploring the world-disclosing nature of human emotions, he has also been involved in research and teaching on the philosophy of psychiatry, with a particular focus on affective disorders and background feelings.

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Neurological thinking has extended itself into a great many spheres of life, from "neuroanthropology" to "neurozoology". We have urgently needed to understand this development within a broad historical and cultural context and Critical Neuroscience provides us with the necessary tools to engage with neuroscience and its social impacts in productive and intelligent ways. The book will be an extremely important resource for anyone interested in understanding how and why neuroscientific research has led us to think about social life in new ways.
Emily Martin, Professor of Anthropology, New York University and author of ‘Bipolar Expeditions: Mania and Depression in American Culture’

At a time where neuroscience, whether molecular or social, is expanding so rapidly to nearly all aspects of human societies, way beyond academia, this volume brings a welcome and refreshing perspective. Choudhury and Slaby are to be commended for bringing together various scholars within a framework that constructively criticizes and analyzes potentials and problems, promises and challenges, pitfalls and strengths associated with human neuroscience. This volume is extremely important to all, and is of special benefit to the emerging field of social neuroscience.
Jean Decety, Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry and Co-Director of Brain Research Imaging Centre, University of Chicago

The neurosciences today are at once the site of genuinely exciting research, of wild claims for the field's “revolutionary” significance for human self-understanding, and of skeptical dismissals of both.   Critical Neuroscience shows instead how to analyze this scientific work with utmost seriousness, through critical reflection on its history and guiding assumptions, its involvement in multiple practical and institutional settings, its scientific prospects, and how it affects and is affected by how we think about ourselves.  The book offers a model for thoughtful engagement with innovative, widely influential scientific research.
Joseph Rouse, Professor of Philosophy and Chair of the 'Science in Society' Program, Wesleyan University, USA

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