Towards a critical neuro-geography of affective governance

Research output: Contribution to conference (unpublished)Paper


Brain- and behaviour-based explanations are increasingly valued for a range of social phenomena as diverse as learning, leadership, environmental sustainability, financial capability, public health and happiness. These explanations are evident in the spheres of educational neuroscience, positive psychology and affective neuroscience approaches to organisational management, and behaviourally-informed public policies currently being pursued by numerous governments around the world. In this paper I will provide an overview of these trends, providing an analysis of the ways in which particular behavioural ‘insights’ and neuroscientific discourse are used to justify affective forms of governance. I consider the ways in which governing through affect and governing affects serves to shape specifically psychoeconomic forms of subjectivity which are shorn of their geo-historical context. Whilst many contemporary social theorists of the politics of affect tend towards accounts which highlight the ‘suggestibility’ of subjects and the manipulative potential of affective governance, in this paper I argue that both the novelty and effectiveness of governing affects has been much overstated. Instead I offer the analytical tools of a critical neuro-geography in order to provide an empirical account of actually existing affective governing practices, patterns and relationships.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 23 Jun 2017
EventGoverning by Affect: Subjectivity and control in times of post-industrial economy - Institut of Philosophy, Freie Universitat Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Duration: 22 Jun 201724 Jun 2017


ConferenceGoverning by Affect
Internet address


Dive into the research topics of 'Towards a critical neuro-geography of affective governance'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this