What We Are Reading Today: Introduction to Social Neuroscience

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Updated 12 August 2020

What We Are Reading Today: Introduction to Social Neuroscience

Edited by Stephanie Cacioppo and John T. Cacioppo

Humans, like many other animals, are a highly social species. But how do our biological systems implement social behaviors, and how do these processes shape the brain and biology? Spanning multiple disciplines, Introduction to Social Neuroscience seeks to engage students and scholars alike in exploring the effects of the brain’s perceived connections with others. 

This wide-ranging textbook provides a quintessential foundation for comprehending the psychological, neural, hormonal, cellular, and genomic mechanisms underlying such varied social processes as loneliness, empathy, theory-of-mind, trust, and cooperation.

Stephanie and John Cacioppo posit that our brain is our main social organ. They show how the same objective relationship can be perceived as friendly or threatening depending on the mental states of the individuals involved in that relationship. They present exercises and evidence-based findings readers can put into practice to better understand the neural roots of the social brain and the cognitive and health implications of a dysfunctional social brain. 

This textbook’s distinctive features include the integration of human and animal studies, clinical cases from medicine, multilevel analyses of topics from genes to societies, and a variety of methodologies.


What We Are Reading Today: Forging Global Fordism by Stefan J. Link

Updated 30 September 2020

What We Are Reading Today: Forging Global Fordism by Stefan J. Link

As the US rose to ascendancy in the first decades of the 20th century, observers abroad associated American economic power most directly with its burgeoning automobile industry. In the 1930s, in a bid to emulate and challenge America, engineers from across the world flocked to Detroit. Chief among them were Nazi and Soviet specialists who sought to study, copy, and sometimes steal the techniques of American automotive mass production, or Fordism. Forging Global Fordism traces how Germany and the Soviet Union embraced Fordism amid widespread economic crisis and ideological turmoil. 

This incisive book recovers the crucial role of activist states in global industrial transformations and reconceives the global thirties as an era of intense competitive development, providing a new genealogy of the postwar industrial order.

Stefan Link uncovers the forgotten origins of Fordism in Midwestern populism, and shows how Henry Ford’s antiliberal vision of society appealed to both the Soviet and Nazi regimes.

He explores how they positioned themselves as America’s antagonists in reaction to growing American hegemony and seismic shifts in the global economy during the interwar years, and shows how Detroit visitors like William Werner, Ferdinand Porsche, and Stepan Dybets helped spread versions of Fordism abroad and mobilize them in total war.

Forging Global Fordism challenges the notion that global mass production was a product of post–World War II liberal internationalism, demonstrating how it first began in the global thirties, and how the spread of Fordism had a distinctly illiberal trajectory.