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The Urban Brain: Mental Health in the Vital City
Nikolas Rose and Des Fitzgerald
Princeton University Press / Softcover / Mar 2022
9780691178608 (ISBN-10: 0691178607)
Sociology / Active Transportation
price: $39.95
280 pages
In Stock (Ships within one business day)

Bridging the social and life sciences to unlock the mystery of how cities shape mental health and illness

Most of the world’s people now live in cities and millions have moved from the countryside to the rapidly growing megacities of the global south. How does the urban experience shape the mental lives of those living in and moving to cities today? Sociologists study cities as centers of personal progress and social innovation, but also exclusion, racism, and inequality. Psychiatrists try to explain the high rates of mental disorders among urban dwellers, especially migrants. But the split between the social and life sciences has hindered understanding of how urban experience is written into the bodies and brains of urbanites. In The Urban Brain, Nikolas Rose and Des Fitzgerald seek to revive the collaboration between sociology and psychiatry about these critical questions. Reexamining the relationship between the city and the brain, Rose and Fitzgerald explore the ways cities shape the mental health and illness of those who inhabit them.

Drawing on the social and life sciences, The Urban Brain takes an ecosocial approach to the vital city, in which humans live and thrive but too often get sick and suffer. The result demonstrates what we can gain by a vitalist approach to the mental lives of those migrating to and living in cities, focusing on the ways that humans make, remake, and inhabit their urban lifeworlds.


“Persuasive, exciting, and potentially extremely influential, The Urban Brain achieves its purpose with startling effect. It is pathbreaking in the way it productively crosses boundaries and disciplines and argues for a new engagement between the social and life sciences.”—Michael Keith, University of Oxford

“This is an important book for anyone interested in the entanglement of urban life and mental health. Rose and Fitzgerald make the compelling argument that many of the enduring questions of the social sciences can and should be revitalized through a critical and productive engagement with the biosciences. In The Urban Brain, they have done the essential work of mapping out a conceptual space for this encounter.”—Eugene Raikhel, University of Chicago

About the Authors:

Nikolas Rose is Distinguished Honorary Professor in the Research School of Social Sciences at the Australian National University, and an Honorary Professor in the Institute of Advanced Studies at University College, London. His books include (with Joelle M. Abi-Rached) Neuro (Princeton). Twitter @rose_nikolas

Des Fitzgerald is associate professor of sociology at the University of Exeter. His books include Tracing Autism. Twitter @Des_Fitzgerald

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