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Publication details for Professor Felicity Callard

Callard, F. & Margulies, D.S. (2011). The subject at rest: novel conceptualizations of self and brain from cognitive neuroscience's study of the 'resting state'. Subjectivity 4(3): 227-257.

Author(s) from Durham


The neuroscientific field of ‘resting state’ research has been described as heralding a paradigm shift in functional neuroimaging. As this new field has been central to the development of a cognitive neuroscientific theory of inner mental life, we here map and analyse its emergence and potential implications for conceptualizations of brain, self and subjectivity within and beyond the neurosciences. The article traces how the ‘resting state’ and ‘default mode’ became visible as objects of scientific enquiry through the yoking together of what were initially separate research endeavours addressing different neurophysiological and neuropsychological questions. In the process, ‘rest’ – as signifying the cessation of movement or labour – has been transformed: the brain, inner mental life – and potentially the self – are conceptualized by researchers in this field as perpetually productive and oriented towards the future.


Special Issue: Neuroscience and Subjectivity