From Attention to Distraction to Attention: Considering an ADD Anthropology
journal contributionposted on 06.06.2019, 04:09 by Justin Raycraft
This essay draws from a contemporary turn in anthropological theory that calls for a shift in scholarly attention away from well-defined subjects of study, towards the interwoven networks of life on earth. I reflect on some of my own ethnographic experiences in the field, and the ways in which my mind and body wandered away from my bounded field-site to consider wider ecologies, and the cosmos at large. Reaching back into my own childhood, I reflect on the politics of socializing children in western society to 'pay attention' to the human world, and avoid being 'distracted' by the biological context of life on earth. To me, this is a tragic fallacy based on a simple conflation between attention and distraction. I invite anthropologists to consider the merits of doing fieldwork with a child-like attentiveness to life at large to ensure that they remain properly distracted from the normative theoretical and methodological constructs of the ethnographic endeavour.
PAN: Philosophy Activism Nature, No. 14, Dec 2018: 73-79