Currently reading: Edward S. Casey ‘The World at a Glance’

I’ve just started reading Edward S. Casey‘s brilliantly written ‘The World at a Glance‘. This is a really useful text for me given the way it brings into sharp relief the privileging of the gaze/focused forms of attending in Western epistemologies and so failing to recognise the significance of the fleeting acts of attending that make up so much of our everyday perceptual experience.

This is something I tried to approach in one of the chapters of my thesis which looked at the significance of relatively inattentive acts of attending to the ways in which people attend to street performances given their setting in the street (which in itself is constituted by a multitude of phenomena which variously seek the subject’s attention by affecting them at different levels in different ways). I’m hoping (once I’ve finished Casey’s book) to get a little further with turning that chapter into a paper, provisionally titled something like: ‘Passivity, affect(ion) and attentive subjects: on becoming aware’. This will primarily take the form of an exegesis of Husserl’s writing on affection and passive and active synthesis and how they open up a path toward an understanding of how we become aware of phenomena, but will ultimately be critiqued (primarily through Deleuze) around three themes which highlight how he falls short of this: Affect vs affection; Subject vs subjectification; and representation vs presentation/simulacrum.

Equally, this really acts as the main bridge between my thesis research and the RGS-IBG funded grant I’m working on on cycling experiences (one of the main foci of this being the significance of the fleeting multi-sensory acts of attending that cyclists engage in to their perception of the environments they move through). Having started the field work for this in the past couple of weeks, I hope to post some provisional thoughts and findings here in the not too distant future.

Anyway, back to reading…


About Paul Simpson

I am currently a lecturer in Human Geography in the School of Physical and Geographical Sciences at Keele University. I've previously lectured at Plymouth University, and again at Keele before that. I completed my PhD (titled 'Ecologies of Street Performance: Bodies, Affects, Politics') at the University of Bristol in 2009.
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