Affective neuroscience, emotional regulation, and international relations

Gammon, Earl (2019) Affective neuroscience, emotional regulation, and international relations. International Theory. ISSN 1752-9719

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International relations (IR) has witnessed an emerging interest in neuroscience, particularly for its relevance to a now widespread scholarship on emotions. Contributing to this scholarship, this article draws on the subfields of affective neuroscience and neuropsychology, which remain largely unexplored in IR. Firstly, the article draws on affective neuroscience in illuminating affect's defining role in consciousness and omnipresence in social behavior, challenging the continuing elision of emotions in mainstream approaches. Secondly, it applies theories of depth neuropsychology, which suggest a neural predisposition originating in the brain's higher cortical regions to attenuate emotional arousal and limit affective consciousness. This predisposition works to preserve individuals' self-coherence, countering implicit assumptions about rationality and motivation within IR theory. Thirdly, it outlines three key implications for IR theory. It argues that affective neuroscience and neuropsychology offer a route towards deep theorizing of ontologies and motivations. It also leads to a reassessment of the social regulation of emotions, particularly as observed in institutions, including the state. It also suggests a productive engagement with constructivist and poststructuralist approaches by addressing the agency of the body in social relations. The article concludes by sketching the potential for a therapeutically-attuned approach to IR.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: affective neuroscience; emotion; international relations theory; affect; psychology
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > International Relations
Subjects: J Political Science > JZ International relations
Depositing User: Earl Gammon
Date Deposited: 02 Jan 2020 10:17
Last Modified: 14 Jan 2020 15:45

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