ICS Seminar Series - Nikolas Rose

Date: Thursday 9 March 2017
Time: 11.30am–1pm
Venue: EZ.G.22, Western Sydney University, Parramatta South campus

Nikolas Rose

(King's College London)

The Urban Brain: Living in the Neurosocial City*


In this seminar I will argue that we should rethink the experience of living in the city in the light of recent developments in the sciences of life. We now know a great deal about the corporeal and cerebral impacts of the varieties of forms of life that we call 'urban'. I will argue that social scientists need to work with researchers in the life sciences to understand how urban experience, and urban adversity 'gets under the skin' and shapes the bodies and brains of urban citizens and denizens. I will discuss the idea of 'the neurosocial city,' that I have developed with Des Fitzgerald. This concept aims to grasp the ways that the forms of life in the conglomerations we call cities are simultaneously lived and transacted through the living bodies and brains of 'each and of all' – the individuals and the multitudes who inhabit urban space. I will outline the argument that my colleagues and I are developing in our current research on the mental consequences of migration into megacities, and draw out the implications, on the one hand for our understanding of the vital lives of cities, and on the other, for the relations between the social sciences and the life sciences today.


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.

A member of numerous advisory groups engaging key stakeholders, he has also held high-level academic posts in LSE and at Goldsmiths.

Trained as a biologist, a psychologist and a sociologist, Rose co-founded two influential radical journals in the 1970s and 1980s, playing a key role in introducing French post-structuralist critical thought to an English speaking audience and helping develop new approaches to political analysis and strategy. 

He has published widely across numerous fields and disciplines, with work translated into 13 languages.

He is a former Managing Editor of Economy and Society and Joint Editor-in-Chief of the interdisciplinary journal, BioSocieties

His latest book, written with Joelle Abi-Rached, is Neuro.

*This is the title of the book I am currently writing with Des Fitzgerald, to be published by Princeton University Press, probably in 2018. Many of the ideas and concepts have been developed jointly in this collaborative work.