#anothermindfulness – contemplative media studies at the nexus of an ethics of response-ability and an ethics of mediation

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The writing of Buddhism and Cultural Studies: A Profession of Faith has paved the way for my next book which has been contracted by Bloomsbury with the working title, Buddhist Critical Theory: The Critique of Mindfulness and the Mindfulness of Critique.

My next book will stage theoretical experiments between Buddhist teachings on mindfulness and discourses in posthumanism, affect studies, media theory, neurophenomenology, and critical pedagogy to guide the development of new methods for contemplative learning, inquiry and activism. With these different sets of discourses, I will underscore the need to pay attention to the visceral layers of experience, in order to investigate how non-rational and non-discursive forces might play a stronger influence than the conscious intellect in shaping patterns of thought and behaviour.

In emphasising the sensorial, affective and perceptual correlates of communicative acts and relations, one of my objectives is to think through arguments about the mutualising relation between technicity and the body, along with the danger or potential of digital structures of attention and its capture. I will pivot these lines of inquiry around the ethical axes developed by feminist and posthumanist thinking.

On the one hand, there is a non-normative ethics of response-ability, understood as a form of dispositional ethics that cultivates responsibility as the situational capacity to be responsive. On the other hand, there is an ethics of mediation which locates the networked flows of communication as part of a political ecology, and conceives of mediation as a vital process or biocultural configuration.

Together, these point to the potential of somatechnics or experimental practices of attentive embodiment, in supplementing discursive modes of civic participation with a micropolitics that intervenes in the affective conditions enabling, rather than the substantive terms of, communicative encounters and ethicopolitical accountability.

My research itinerary is moving in the direction of contemplative media studies.

Contemplative media studies could potentially draw together problematics concerning the politics of representation and genre pleasures, the econo-political drives behind the tracking and modulating of public mood and opinion, data privacy and surveillance, convergence and participatory culture, and locate them at the nexus of an ethics of response-ability and an ethics of mediation.

Crucially, a contemplative approach to media studies would experiment with somatechnics to investigate the ways by which these problematics are layered over the sensorial, affective and perceptual dimensions of everyday activities like social networking, transmedia fandom and gaming

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