Why do we no longer trust experts, facts and statistics?
Why has politics become so fractious and warlike?
What caused the populist political upheavals of recent years?
How can the history of ideas help us understand our present?
In this bold and far-reaching exploration of our new political landscape, William Davies reveals how feelings have come to reshape our world. Drawing deep on history, philosophy, psychology and economics, he shows how some of the fundamental assumptions that defined the modern world have dissolved. With advances in science and medicine, the division between mind and body is no longer so clear-cut. The spread of digital and military technology has left us not quite at war nor exactly at peace. In the murky new space between mind and body, between war and peace, lie nervous states: with all of us relying increasingly on feeling rather than fact.
In a book of profound insight and astonishing breadth, William Davies reveals the origins of this new political reality. Nervous States is a compelling and essential guide to the turbulent times we are living through.
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.