The ability to borrow or share states of mind, once historically and culturally assumed, is now pathologized, as Teresa Brennan shows in relation to affective transfer in psychiatric clinics and the prevalence of psychogenic illness in contemporary life. To neglect the mechanism by which affect is transmitted, the author claims, has serious consequences for science and medical research.
Brennan's theory of affect is based on constant communication between individuals and their physical and social environments. Her important book details the relationships among affect, energy, and "new maladies of the soul," including attention deficit disorder, chronic fatigue syndrome, codependency, and fibromyalgia.
In this elegant, lucidly argued account, Teresa Brennan argues that the evidence already exists that globalisation has for years been harming not just the poor of the third world but also its alleged beneficiaries in the affluent west. She shows how the speeding-up of contemporary capitalism, in which space is substituted for time, means that neither then environment nor the people who live in it are given the opportunity to regenerate and how this leads directly to pollution-induced, immune-deficient and stress-related disease. In a final chapter she suggests some alternative ways forward through a return to regionally based production and an emphasis on local economies.