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What if there was no such thing as attention outside of how it was brought into existence though discourses and practices Rogers Focauldian analysis of the nature of attention makes this possibility seem plausible than the reader might initially presume Tracing the history of how attention has been conceived and used in psychological and other societal discourses Rogers shows that the nature of how attention gets conceived and how this affects various forms of practice has changed uite significantly over time Foucault s understanding of the relationship between power and nowledge hangs heavily over Roger s analysis as Rogers Attempts To Outline attempts to outline ways according to him that changes in the posited nature of attention occurred due to changes in the way that power operates in societyA book by John Crary called Suspensions of Perception Attention Spectacle and Modern Culture earlier used a similar Foucauldian approach to unpack the development of the concept of attention in the nineteenth century where the term first gained something like its modern meaning and importance to societal discourses Rogers at one point describes his book as picking up the history or accurately genealogy of attention where Crary left off in the early 20th century But while reading Crary s work may be helpful for a complete genealogy of attention it shouldn t be necessary Rogers historical work stand. In recent years a pronounced transformation of human attention has been taking place From the epidemic diagnoses of ADHD to the calculable metrics of the 'attention economy' a groundswell "of discourses have intensified scrutiny on attention as a social problem that cuts across psychology economics art and design "discourses have intensified scrutiny on attention as a social problem that cuts across psychology economics art and design
Kenneth Rogers Ú 6 ReadEen the attention economy as described by say Richard Lanham s The Economics of Attention Style and Substance in the Age of Information and DavenportBeck s Attention Economy Understanding the New Currency of BusinessAnyone who has any tendencies towards any form of philosophical realism might also find the book frustrating While Rogers disclaims any intention of investigating whether or not there is anything real beyond the discourses and practices that constitute what people have variously understood as attention the analysis seems to very much presume in true Foucauldian fashion that the only thing that really exists is power understood as network of relations of force that constitute discourses and practices through their inter relation and conflict Yet on occasion there is tacit acknowledgement from Rogers that the operations of power at least as they are manifested in the discourses and practices around attention can fail for reasons not clearly related to discursive operationsNevertheless the book is a very good demonstration of how Foucault s genealogical methodology can yield important insights about how concepts that might seem natural to us are actually at least to some degree historically contingent potentially variable and defined in accordance with criteria insidious than a neutral objective attempt to describe reality Attention it seems is one of those concepts. L development of attention's successive disappearance return and transformation within formal scientific he arrives at a better understanding how "the vestiges of political power deeply inform the of new attention technologies and the pervasive "vestiges of political power deeply inform the rise of new attention technologies and the pervasive social cultural of attention in today's society. ,
S uite well on its own as a description of attention from the early 20th to the early 21st century That said as might be inferred from my freuent use of the terms discourse and genealogy at least a passing nowledge of Foucault would be a very good idea going inAfter an initial section outlining how his methodology is derived from Foucault s later works Rogers book has five main sections one for each phase of the history of attention at issue He traces the history of attention as it is conceived and put to use both in psychological descriptions of human subjectivity and in various societal purposes with attention itself often acting as a linking concept Roger s calls it a dispositif between the two The history runs through a behavioralist model of attention as habituation to a cognitive model of attention first as a selection process and then as a cognitive resource up until the present day where the notion of the attention economy "Is Reconfiguring Attention Once Again As Both An Individual And "reconfiguring attention once again as both an individual and a collective economic rather than just cognitive resourceThe last section on the nature of the attention economy is underdeveloped which is probably understandable given the concept s relative newness But Rogers is I think too uick to presume that a unitary discursive framework for the attention economy has coalesced and become stable as there are still considerable variations betw. Edia technology popular culture and the experience of everyday life Kenneth Rogers takes the vital first step in the project of mapping out the complex of power relations that surround and support the proliferating technologies nowledge systems and social practices of attention By unfolding The Dramatic Historica. dramatic historica. .