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The Pursuit of Attention : Power and Ego in Everyday Life - Charles Derber

The Pursuit of Attention

Power and Ego in Everyday Life

Paperback Published: 1st June 2000
ISBN: 9780195135497
Number Of Pages: 160

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"Enough about me," goes the old saying, "what about you? What do you think about me?" Hence the pursuit of attention is alive and well. Even the Oxford English Dictionary reveals a modern coinage to reflect the chase in our technological age: "ego-surfing"--searching the Internet for occurrences of your own name. What is the cause of this obsessive need for others' recognition? This useful and popular volume, now in a second edition that features major new introductory and concluding essays, entertainingly ponders this question. Derber argues that there is a general lack of social support in today's America, one which causes people to vie hungrily for attention, and he shows how individuals will often employ numerous techniques to turn the course of a conversation towards themselves. Illustrating this "conversational narcissism" with sample dialogues that will seem disturbingly familiar to all readers, this book analyzes the pursuit of attention in conversation--as well as in politics and celebrity culture--and demonstrates the ultimate importance of gender, class, and racial differences in competing for attention. Derber shows how changes in the economy and culture--such as the advent of the Internet--have intensified the rampant individualism and egotism of today. And finally, in a new afterword, he focuses on solutions: how to restructure the economy and culture to humanize ourselves and increase the capacity for community, empathy, and attention-giving.

Industry Reviews

"A refreshingly balanced, strongly grounded exploration of the routines Americans exploit in competing for attention...."--American Journal of Sociology (on the previous edition) "A refreshingly balanced, strongly grounded exploration of the routines Americans exploit in competing for attention...."--American Journal of Sociology (on the previous edition) "Competition and individualism in America are fresh topics in his hands and he works out a theory which I think is of great interest."--Richard Sennett (on the previous edition) "Derber is on to something important, and I like what he says--it makes much sense. The subject serves the kind of attention (if I may use the word) he's giving it."--Robert Coles (on the previous edition)

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introduction to the Second Editionp. xi
Informal Dynamics Individualism
Introductionp. 2
Every Man for Himself; Every Woman for Herself: Individualism Face-to-Facep. 9
Monopolizing the Conversation: On Being Civilly Egocentricp. 18
Formal Dynamics Power
Introductionp. 34
The Gift of Attention-Giving: On Women Imposedp. 38
Attention for Sale: The Hidden Privileges of Classp. 57
On One's Own: The Overburdened Self and the Need for Attentionp. 78
Conclusion to the Second Editionp. 89
Notesp. 105
Bibliographyp. 124
Indexp. 129
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780195135497
ISBN-10: 0195135490
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 160
Published: 1st June 2000
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 20.4 x 13.67  x 0.84
Weight (kg): 0.15
Edition Number: 2
Edition Type: Revised

Earn 34 Qantas Points
on this Book