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Yves Citton

Yves Citton is professor of French Literature of the 18th Century at the Université de Grenoble-3. He co-directs the journal Multitudes and animates the weekly radio show Zazirocratie on Radio Campus Grenoble 90.8 FM, with past programs downloadable from this site and from the radio’s. He has published a dozen books, including Pour une écologie de l’attention (Seuil, 2014) – which has been published in English translation by Polity Press under the title An Ecology of Attention in 2016.

© image A di Crollalanza

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The Ecology of Attention (Polity Press, 2016)

Information overload, the shallows, weapons of mass distraction, the googlization of minds: countless commentators condemn the flood of images and information that dooms us to a pathological attention deficit.

In this new book, cultural theorist Yves Citton goes against the tide of these standard laments to offer a new perspective on the problem of attention in the digital age. Phrases like paying attention and investing one’s attention attest to our mistaken belief that attention can be conceptualized in narrow economic terms. We are constantly drawn towards attempts to quantify and commodify attention, even down to counting the number of 'likes' a picture receives on Facebook or a video on YouTube. By contrast, Citton argues that we should conceptualize attention as a kind of ecology and examine how the many different environments to which we are exposed from advertising to literature, search engines to performance art condition our attention in different ways.

In a world where the demands on our attention are ever-increasing, this timely and original book will be of great interest to students and scholars in media and communications and in literary and cultural studies, and to anyone concerned about the long-term consequences of the profusion of images as well as digital content in the age of the internet.

Médiarchie (Éditions du Seuil, 2017)

We believe that we live in democracies, but in reality, we live in mediarchies. This is because, more than nations or individuals, the public is formed by external media that function as a substrate of our political regimes. Although we may denounce the "power of media," we barely recognize the extent to which the media conditions our perceptions, our thoughts, and our actions, individual and collective.


Jan 27: New York: Night of Philosophy and Ideas

Jan 29: Cooper Union, New York

April 19: University of Wisconsin, Madison

April 23: New School, New York

April 25: Georgetown University, Washington


Note that we have limited funding available for our tours. Please let us know if you would be able to arrange for domestic travel to/from the event. If you would like to invite this author to speak at your university or bookstore, please fill out the application form and email it to Anne-Sophie Hermil.