William Davies

Nervous States
  • Nervous States

  • A dazzlingly original analysis of the times we are living in by one of Britain’s most exciting thinkers

    ‘A masterpiece’ New York Times
    ‘Insightful and well-written’ Yuval Noah Harari, author of Sapiens

    In this age of emotional political conflict, there is less and less to agree upon. Experts are no longer respected as impartial; public debate is reduced to attack and counter-attack; the boundary between facts and propaganda seems to be dissolving. We live in a world not quite at war but nor exactly at peace.

    How did things reach this point, and what can we do about it? In this enlightening, far-reaching and provocative book, William Davies explores how physical and emotional feeling came to reshape our world today, destabilising governments and placing us all on high-alert. Drawing on a 400-year history of scientific and political ideas, he shows how our sensations were once treated with suspicion, before being seized enthusiastically as a path to mass mobilisation in war.

    As we enter a new technological and political era, this book reveals the origins of the nervous states in which we now live.

RELEASED 19/09/2019

William Davies teaches political economy and sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London. His work explores the history of ideas, especially the history of economics, and how this helps us understand the present. He is the author of The Happiness Industry and The Limits of Neoliberalism, and regularly writes for the Guardian and London Review of Books.