6 September 2021

The Political Economy of Attention

Professor Morten Axel Pedersen and Assistant Professor Kristoffer Albris have published a new paper entitled The Political Economy of Attention, in collaboration with Nick Seaver, Assistant Professor at Tufts University. The paper is published in the journal Annual Review of Anthropology. The paper is online first, and while be published as part of a full volume of the journal in October 2021.


Attention has become an issue of intense political, economic, and moral concern over recent years: from the commodification of attention by digital platforms to the alleged loss of the attentional capacities of screen-addicted children (and their parents). While attention has rarely been an explicit focus of anthropological inquiry, it has still played an important if mostly tacit part in many anthropological debates and subfields. Focusing on anthropological scholarship on digital worlds and ritual forms, we review resources for colleagues interested in this burgeoning topic of research and identify potential avenues for an incipient anthropology of attention, which studies how attentional technologies and techniques mold human minds and bodies in more or less intentional ways.

Reference: Pedersen, MA, K. Albris & N. Seaver (2021). The Political Economy of Attention. Annual Review of Anthropology, 50:19.1-19.17. The article is available for download at: https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-anthro-101819-110356