Affectivity, Biopolitics and the Virtual Reality of War

Valiaho, Pasi. 2012. Affectivity, Biopolitics and the Virtual Reality of War. Theory, Culture & Society, 29(2), pp. 63-83. ISSN 0263-2764 [Article]

This is the latest version of this item.

No full text available

Abstract or Description

At the focal point of contemporary biopolitical knowledge and power is human life in its contingent, evolutionary and emergent properties: the living as adaptive and affective beings, characterized in particular by their capacity to experience stress and fear that works together with vital survival mechanisms. This article addresses new techniques of psychiatric power and therapeutic epistemologies that have emerged in present-day military-scientific as well as media technological assemblages to define and capture the human in its psychobiological states of emergency. Specifically, the focus of this article is on one special kind of screen medium, called Virtual Iraq, a virtual reality device designed to treat post-traumatic stress disorder among war veterans. The article analyses Virtual Iraq as an example of new forms and strategies for the management of affectivity and memory that have been developed in conjunction with contemporary neuroscientific discourses on the evolutionary origins of emotional life and its neurobiological functionality among humans qua species. Furthermore, it discusses Virtual Iraq as an example of the biopolitical work of contemporary screen media in which the reality of images starts to concern the organism's internal functioning instead of being anthropological or communicative, tapping into the brain's capacity of self-organization as well as contributing to the production and maintenance of psychological immunity.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Media, Communications and Cultural Studies
Research Office > REF2014


16 March 2012Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

06 Jul 2012 13:00

Last Modified:

31 Mar 2015 15:11

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


Available Versions of this Item

Edit Record Edit Record (login required)