Un/Inhibited Organism: Political Power, Psychophysiology, and Techniques
Turner, Robert Dhayan
Beginning from the observation of a range of apparently "inexplicable inhibitions" in myself and others - inhibitions one might not expect from having grown up in a culture constituted by the "free exercise of free human reason under conditions of liberty" - this dissertation examines and evaluates prominent ancient and modern political theory, neuropsychology, and a specific dance practice in terms of their neglect or use and understanding of specific practices and techniques, employed in human relations, that might affect the psychophysiology of the political subject. This analysis - based in part on recent neuroscience evidence - is intended to achieve an understanding that might transform its author and readers. To the extent that, in our "democracy" (i.e., rule by us, the people), we find ourselves dissatisfied and yet in the habit of feeling, thinking, and acting so as to maintain and reinforce conventional arrangements of power, we may, through this improved understanding, be able to work directly upon ourselves - the feelings, thoughts, and actions that affect us in those moments when we decide our relations to institutional authority (as it exists in ourselves and others), and thereby maintain or disrupt existing power relations, as they exist in our own subjectivities and in our associations with others.
Substantive chapters on Foucault, Plato, Kant, Rawls, Habermas, Connolly, and Steve Paxton.
political power; psychophysiology; techniques of the self; neuroscience; habit; contact improvisation
dissertation or thesis