Interpreting the brain in society
Cultural reflections on neuroscientific practices
Society today seems obsessed with the human brain. It has become a crucial component in our culture, for people’s attitudes to themselves and others, and for how they should plan their lives. Modern neuroscience has a great impact on society, not only on medical treatments but also on existential questions such as how human consciousness can be defined, where feelings arise, when life ends and death occurs.
Such cultural and existential questions are addressed in this anthology. Its authors suggest perspectives and concepts to understand neuroscience, and critically scrutinize its various manifestations in society. Interpreting the brain in society. Cultural reflections on neuroscientific practices is written by scholars from art history, visual studies, and ethnology involved in a research collaboration with medical and natural scientists doing basic research on Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease. There is also an afterword by one of these neuroscientists.
Kristofer Hansson is Associate professor of ethnology and Researcher at the Department of Arts and Cultural Sciences, Lund University, Sweden.
Markus Idvall is Associate professor of ethnology and Senior lecturer at the Department of Arts and Cultural Sciences, Lund University, Sweden.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Interpreting the brain in society (Kristofer Hansson & Markus Idvall)
1. A different kind of engagement: P.C. Jersild’s novel A Living Soul (Kristofer Hansson)
2. Pathological creativity: How popular media connect neurological disease and creative practices (Peter Bengtsen & Ellen Suneson)
3. ‘Biospace’: Metaphors of space in microbiological images (Max Liljefors)
4. Diffractions of the foetal cell suspension: Scientific knowledge and value in laboratory work (Andréa Wiszmeg)
5. Mixed emotions in the laboratory: When scientific knowledge confronts everyday knowledge (Kristofer Hansson)
6. Meetings with complexity: Dementia and participation in art educational situations (Åsa Alftberg & Johanna Rosenqvist)
7. Taking part in clinical trials: The therapeutic ethos of patients and public towards experimental cell transplantations (Markus Idvall)
Two afterwords by Malin Parmar and Aud Sissel Hoel