Empathy Imperiled- Capitalism, Culture, and the Brain - Gary Olson
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Empathy Imperiled- Capitalism, Culture, and the Brain - Gary Olson

Written by Gary Olson
Edition: 2013
Format(s): PDF
Language: English

Release date: December 17, 2012 | ISBN-10: 1461461162 | ISBN-13: 978-1461461166 | Edition: 2013
The most critical factor explaining the disjuncture between empathy's revolutionary potential and today's empathically-impaired society is the interaction between the brain and our dominant political culture. The evolutionary process has given rise to a hard-wired neural system in the primal brain and particularly in the human brain. This book argues that the crucial missing piece in this conversation is the failure to identify and explain the dynamic relationship between an empathy gap and the hegemonic influence of neoliberal capitalism, through the analysis of the college classroom, the neoliberal state, media, film and photo images, marketing of products, militarization, mass culture and government policy. This book will contribute to an empirically grounded dissent from capitalism's narrative about human nature. Empathy is putting oneself in another's emotional and cognitive shoes and then acting in a deliberate, appropriate manner. Perhaps counter-intuitively, it requires self-empathy because we're all products of an empathy-anesthetizing culture. The approach in this book affirms a scientific basis for acting with empathy, and it addresses how this can help inform us to our current political culture and process, and make its of interest to students and scholars in political science, psychology, and other social sciences.


From the Back Cover
Empathy is putting oneself in another’s emotional and cognitive shoes and then acting appropriately. The evolutionary process has given rise to a hard-wired neural system, described as “the most radical of human emotions, that equips us to connect with one another. But this critical connection has been short-circuited by the dynamic convergence of culture, politics and the brain under the hegemonic influence of neoliberal capitalism. The book explores this process through sections on education, the neoliberal state, neuromarketing, corporations, militarization, mass culture, film, photo images and media. How does the system blunt, bracket off and or otherwise channel empathy’s revolutionary potential? What does this reveal about how the world works and especially, how it might work better? Empathy Imperiled offers a provocative, empirically grounded dissent from capitalism’s narrative about human nature. It offers a unique perspective on our current political culture and process and as such it will appeal to students and scholars in political science, psychology, anthropology, and several related fields.
Product Details

Series: SpringerBriefs in Political Science (Book 10)
Paperback: 120 pages
Publisher: Springer; 2013 edition (December 17, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1461461162
ISBN-13: 978-1461461166

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read on how capitalism deliberately subverts empathy in all of us! February 26, 2013
By Nadine Dolby
Format:Paperback
Empathy Imperiled is a book that all of us who are concerned about the devastating effects of hypercapitalism on the planet need desperately to read. Olson skillfully shows us how capitalism has intentionally rewritten the story of human biology to fit its own ends. As Olson discusses, capitalism has led us to believe that people are only naturally competitive--when the true story about who we were, and what it is possible for us to achieve as a species, is infinitely more complex. Drawing on research in neuroscience, Olson demonstrates that empathy is innate to all of us, and that harnessing this fundamental truth can lead to radical changes in our political and economic structures. Weaving in stories from his own teaching and political experiences, Olson's book is a compelling read--and one that will change the way you think about how the culture of capitalism has shaped all of us.

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