'Shattered into a multiplicity of warring functions': synthesis, disintegration and 'distractibility'
Swanson, G. (2007) 'Shattered into a multiplicity of warring functions': synthesis, disintegration and 'distractibility'. Intellectual History Review, 17 (3). pp. 305-326. ISSN 1749-6977
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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17496970701622556
At the centre of this peer-reviewed journal article on distractibility is a detailed investigation of William McDougall's 1920s-1940s adaptation of William James' notion of distraction developed in the 1890s. While the argument concerning the application of the notion of 'distractibility' in 1940s Britain rests on this analysis, this piece differs in its focus on the mechanics of conceptual adaptation and revision through which this becomes possible. This article was developed from two papers at international conferences 'Civilization, Sentiment and Psychosis: Aesthetic Values and Distraction in Britain, 1920s-1940s', Technology, Media and Culture in the Space Between, 1914-1945, The Seventh Annual Meeting of 'The Space Between', McGill University, Montreal, Canada, May 27-29 2005; and "Serenity and Psychosis: Culture, Aesthetic Values and 'Distraction' Compositing Gender: Concepts of the Body and the Politics of Desire at the Interface of Material and Visual Culture, Centre for Cultural Studies, Essen Germany, March 2005 (invited paper).