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Events and the Means of Attention

Events and the Means of Attention

In the contemporary network society, attracting public attention has become more challenging as the supply of information increases. Events arguably play an essential role in synchronizing personal, social and political agendas, helping to focus attention and frame places, objects and people. The event audience justifies the event by paying attention to it, but the event also has to reciprocate by paying attention to the audience. This paper looks at how contemporary rituals that are designed to focus attention and generate ‘emotional energy’ through shared co-presence and a mutual focus of attention, as suggested by Collins in 2004. The event itself, therefore, arguably mirrors practices in the wider network society, where sociality increasingly depends on generating and exchanging attention. The extent to which events and event places successfully create the conditions for successful event rituals by developing the means of attention is examined through examples of cultural and sporting events, focusing on the creative interplay between consumers and producers and their cocreation of event experiences.

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