1st Edition

A Political Economy of Attention, Mindfulness and Consumerism Reclaiming the Mindful Commons

By Peter Doran Copyright 2017
    116 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    130 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The power of capital is the power to target our attention, mould market-ready identities, and reduce the public realm to an endless series of choices. This has far-reaching implications for our psychological, physical and spiritual well-being, and ultimately for our global ecology. In this consumer age, the underlying teachings of Buddhist mindfulness offer more than individual well-being and resilience. They also offer new sources of critical inquiry into our collective condition, and may point, in time, to regulatory initiatives in the field of well-being.

    This book draws together lively debates from the new economics of transition, commons and well-being, consumerism, and the emerging role of mindfulness in popular culture. Engaged Buddhist practices and teachings correspond closely to insights in contemporary political philosophical investigations into the nature of power, notably by Michel Foucault. The 'attention economy' can be understood as a new arena of struggle in our age of neoliberal governmentality; as the forces of enclosure – having colonized forests, land and the bodies of workers – are now extended to the realm of our minds and subjectivity. This poses questions about the recovery of the 'mindful commons': the practices we must cultivate to reclaim our attention, time and lives from the forces of capitalization. 

    This is a valuable resource for students and scholars of environmental philosophy, environmental psychology, environmental sociology, well-being and new economics, political economy, environmental politics, the commons and law, as well as Buddhist theory and philosophy.

    Chapter 1. Towards a ‘Mindful Commons’ – The Anthropocene and the Attention Revolution

    Chapter 2. The Spirit of Activism: Non-Violence as a Way of Life

    Chapter 3. The Cartesian Legacy

    Chapter 4. Foucault, Zen and the Art of Challenging Consumerism

    Chapter 5. Conclusions: Attention Deficit and Ecological Degradation Advance Together


    Peter Doran is a lecturer at the School of Law at Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland.

    "A Political Economy is an important contribution to acknowledge that mindfulness and associated mind–body practices are central, not peripheral, to collective liberation (Rowe 2017)." - Benedikt Schmid, Institute of Geography and Spatial Planning, University of Luxembourg.