The Nervous System  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The Nervous System (1992) is a book by Michael Taussig.

Written in 1992, the Nervous System is an anthropological work comprised of nine essays. Michael Taussig sets out on a journey to explore and describe various forces that shape and mold our present society. He tries to explore the process through which we commodify the state and in that way transfer the power to it. Taussig shows how the state uses forces such as violence or media control to consolidate its power over the people. He persuasively argues that we live in a state of emergency, citing Walter Benjamin, that is not ‘an exception but the rule.’ To show the universality of the nervous system he takes his reader through the heights of Machu Picchu, the world of Cuna shamans, and the pale world of New York’s hospital system.

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