Nikolas Rose
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Personal profile

Biographical details

Nikolas Rose is Professor of Sociology and Co-Director of the ESRC Centre for Society and Mental Health. He originally trained as a biologist before switching to psychology and then to sociology. After ten years at Goldsmiths College, where he was Head of Sociology and Pro-Warden for Research, he joined the London School of Economics in 2002 and was Convenor of the Department of Sociology from 2002 to 2006 and Martin White Professor of Sociology. He was the founder and Director of the BIOS Centre for the Study of Bioscience, Biomedicine, Biotechnology and Society at LSE. He joined King's in January 2012 to establish the new Department of Social Science, Health & Medicine, now the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine.

Nikolas Rose has published widely on the social and political history of the human sciences, on the genealogy of subjectivity, on the history of empirical thought in sociology, on law and criminology, and on changing rationalities and techniques of political power.

For the last decade, his work has focussed on the conceptual, social and political dimensions of the contemporary life sciences and biomedicine. His current research concerns biological and genetic psychiatry and behavioural neuroscience.  His book Our Psychiatric Future: the poitics of mental health was published by Polity in 2018.  Previous books include Neuro: The New Brain Sciences and the Management of the Mind (Princeton, 2013, with Joelle Abi-Rached), Governing the Present (Polity, 2008, with Peter Miller); The Politics of Life Itself: Biomedicine, Power, and Subjectivity in the Twenty-First Century (Princeton University Press, 2006), Powers of Freedom: Reframing Political Thought (Cambridge University Press, 1999),  and Governing the Soul (Free Association Press, 1999).  His work has been translated into many languages, including Chinese, Danish, German, French, Finnish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish and Swedish. He is a longstanding member of the Editorial Board of Economy and Society and founder and co-editor of BioSocieties: an interdisciplinary journal for social studies of the life sciences

Nikolas Rose has worked on a number of major research programmes on social and political implications of research in the life sciences, neuroscience and synthetic biology.  He leads King’s Urban Brain Lab, and is undertaking interdisciplinary research on ‘Mental health, migration and the megacity’ in Shanghai, São  Paulo and a number of other megacities.  He is Chair of the Neuroscience and Society Network, an interdisciplinary collaboration of social scientists, philosophers, lawyers, neuroscientists and psychiatrists. He has been a member of several advisory groups including the Nuffield Council on Bioethics and has worked closely with the Royal Society and the Academy of Medical Sciences. He is Co-Director of King's Centre for Society and Mental Health.

Research interests (short)

Social and political history of the human sciences, genealogy of subjectivity, history of empirical thought in sociology, social determinants of inequalities in health and disease.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

External positions

Visiting Professor, Aarhus University


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