MENTAL LIFE IN THE METROPOLIS: URBAN BRAINS, URBAN LIVES AND THE EMBODIMENT OF URBANICITY

PROFESSOR NIKOLAS ROSE, PROFESSOR OF SOCIOLOGY, KING’S COLLEGE LONDON

Co-presented with the Biopolitics of Science Research Network and the Network for Bodies, Tissues and Organs at the University of Sydney.

How does the experience of urban living get under the skin? How do different forms of urban life shape body and soul, mental life, mental health, mental distress? This question has a long history in social thought from George Simmel and Walter Benjamin to the ‘Chicago School’. It was crucial to early sociological attempts to chart the distribution of mental disorder across urban space. But from the 1960s onwards, accounts of the distribution, causes and consequences of social suffering proceed without much attention to how these got ‘under the skin’ and the stance of sociology to psychiatry transformed from alliance to critique.

Professor Rose argues that the time is right to revive this relationship between the human sciences and the life sciences. Following an exploration of some historical transactions between the social and the vital in urban existence, he considers some recent work in the neurosciences and its potential (and its problems) for a revitalized sociology of urban experience. At a time when more than half the world’s population lives in cities, from the shantytowns and slums of Sao Paolo and Mumbai to les banlieues of Europe’s capitals, Professor Rose suggests that such a revitalized sociology might once more help grasp some of the most pressing questions of our present.

Professor Nikolas Rose is Professor of Sociology and Head of the Department of Social Science, Health and Medicine at King’s College London. His work explores how scientific developments have changed conceptions of human identity and governance and what this means for our political, socio-economic and legal futures. Rose is a Co-director of the Centre for Synthetic Biology and Innovation (CSynBI), a major research collaboration between King’s and Imperial College London.

TUESDAY 26 AUGUST

6 to 7.30pm

Law School Foyer
Level 2, Sydney Law School Annex
Eastern Avenue
The University of Sydney
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Free event with online registration requested. Please click here for the registration page.