Invitation to my PhD defence, May 16th 10h at Maastricht University

A date has been set! You are cordially invited to attend the public defence of my dissertation, at Wednesday May 16th, 10h sharp at the Aula of Maastricht University (Minderbroedersberg 4-6, Maastricht).

 

PRACTICING THE PLASTIC BRAIN
popular neuroscience and the good life

Despite its complex scientific technicalities, in the past decade knowledge of the brain has spread from the laboratory into a variety of societal domains. This book examines how translators and popularisers of neuroscience knowledge engage with values in order to make their brain claims relevant and valuable.

Key to our emerging ‘neuroculture’ is the concept of brain plasticity: our brains are now imagined as changeable, and open to interventions. The idea of a plastic brain allows neuroscience translators and popularisers to promise and propose new ways of changing our brains for the better – enhancing the good and preventing the bad. Combining theories and methods from Science and Technology Studies (STS), pragmatist ethics, and the sociology of valuation, this book empirically traces valuations and normativities of the plastic brain in three different societal practices of a good life: parenting, working, and ageing. It shows for what sorts of problems, prescriptions, and ideals the plastic brain is mobilized in these cases of a brain-inspired good life, and it scrutinizes whether this results in changes in what it means to be a good parent, a good employee, or to age well in our contemporary society.