chapter  12
12 Pages

Social Brains, Embodiment and Neuro-Interactionism

ByVictoria Pitts-Taylor

One wouldn’t know that bodies have brains from reading much of the body studies literature, and certainly not from reading the specifically sociological literature on the body and embodiment. This may call for a corrective by way of introduction. That is, in fact, what neurosociologists mean to do: introduce sociologists to the brain. Empirical knowledge of the brain is being employed by neuroscientists to make claims about human sociality. Neurosociologists are aiming to apply work on the ‘social brain’ to refine concepts about self, other and intersubjectivity. Interventions into social theory by way of the brain are also on offer. Neuroscience is being configured as a resource for sociology that will help to flesh out the body’s materiality and ameliorate extreme social constructionism. In this chapter I consider one application of neurosociology, which I am naming ‘neuro-interactionism,’ that utilizes brain research on mirror neurons to materialize symbolic interactionist concepts of intersubjectivity. My aim is not simply to introduce uninitiated readers to neurosociology, but rather to highlight and raise questions about neurosociology’s interventions into debates about the body and bioculture.