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A multitude of natural, social and individual time

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

Elias’ essay on time is often interpreted both as a critique on the juxtaposition of natural time and social time as well as a plea for a triadic conception of time in which natural time and social time both provide the ‘materials’ for individual choices of time. Such an interpretation implies that there exists a multitude of natural, social and individual times. First, this contribution searches literature on the sociology of time for practical approaches to natural and social temporal structures and argues how they have been at interplay in the changing collective and individual experience of time. Second, given that time is neither solely a self- evident natural phenomenon nor solely a coercive individual transcending char- acteristic of society, this contribution argues that the multitude of individual times is to be found in the way individuals draw on these natural and social temporal structures for the practices that make up daily life. Third, since large part of these practices is motivated by individuals’ necessity for a sense of order in the continuity of daily life, this contribution furthermore argues that individual times present themselves as daily routines. These daily routines, then, can be formulated in terms of (a combination of) the rigidity of duration, timing, tempo and sequence of these practices constrained and enabled by natural and social temporal structures.
Journal: Time and Society
ISSN: 0961-463X
Issue: 3
Volume: 28
Pages: 971-994
Number of pages: 24
Publication year:2019
Keywords:Social time, daily routine, individual time, natural time, time-use survey