1st Edition

Attention and its Crisis in Digital Society

By Enrico Campo Copyright 2022
    234 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    234 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    In the context of debates surrounding the effects of new technologies on our mental faculties, particularly the attention span, this volume addresses the notion of a deterioration of attention, and the related ideas of cognitive overload, an inability to concentrate, and attention deficit disorder. Through a new conceptualization of attention based not on individualistic or universalistic approaches, but centered instead on the cultural and social variability of cognitive processes and the multiplicity of forces and environments that encourage, stimulate, and inhibit certain cognitive mechanisms, the author rejects the idea of a degradation or crisis of attention and proposes an alternative vision of the problem of attention in contemporary societies. Placing cultural conventions, social norms, and ecological environments at the forefront of our understanding of individual and collective attention, Attention and its Crisis in Digital Society will appeal to scholars of sociology, psychology, and philosophy with interests in social theory, cognitive processes, and the criticisms often levelled at digital society and new technologies.


    1. Does Attention Exist?

    2. In Search of an Elusive Object

    3. Between the Mental and the Social

    4. The Social Dimension

    5. The Modern Ambivalence of the New

    6. Social Frames and Systems of Relevance



    Enrico Campo is a Research Fellow in Sociology at the Department of Philosophy at the University of Milan, Italy.

    "Enrico Campo deftly challenges conventional wisdom on the modern "crisis of attention", offering a unique sociological approach to understanding the cultural and normative organization of attention and "distraction." For psychologists, sociologists, and anyone interested in the ways that we focus, this timely and important book demands your attention."

    Wayne H. Brekhus, University of Missouri, USA; author Culture and Cognition (2015)

    "Attention and its Crisis provides the most synthetic, accessible, and nuanced overview of what a lot of us experience as "a crisis of attention." It empowers the reader by assembling a most precious toolbox of historical contextualizations, analytical views, conceptual insights, critical distance, and reflexive gestures which, together, help us map out where the problems stand – and how it may be possible to overcome some of them."

    Yves Citton, University of Paris, France; author of The Ecology of Attention (2017)

    "Enrico Campo’s book is the result of careful research and intelligent reflection that goes beyond the stereotypes that see the crisis of attention as a purely cognitive and purely individual syndrome. Campo brilliantly deals with the analysis of attention and its crisis in the digital age, submitting the individualistic and universalistic visions of contemporary psychology to critique."

    Alfonso Maurizio Iacono, University of Pisa, Italy; author of The History and Theory of Fetishism (2016)