The Ecology of Attention: An Interview

We are arguably living in the midst of a form of economy where attention has become a key resource and value, labor, class, and currency are being reconfigured as a result. But how is this happening, what are the consequences, and is “economy” necessarily the most productive frame in which to understand these transformations in attention and distraction? Yves Citton’s new book explores these questions in a fascinating study of attention as economy, ecology, and “echology” (with the last taking on resonances of the notion of the echo). The Ecology of Attention (tr. Barnaby Norman) (Polity Press, 2017) looks carefully at attention-related phenomena emergent at a number of scales and argues throughout that there are high stakes for how we understand and work with these phenomena: for teaching, performance, the environment, and liberty itself. We spoke about the book for the NBN Seminar, and you can listen to our conversation here.