Time, Consumption and Everyday Life: Practice, Materiality and Culture

Time, Consumption and Everyday Life: Practice, Materiality and Culture

Time, Consumption and Everyday Life: Practice, Materiality and Culture

Time, Consumption and Everyday Life: Practice, Materiality and Culture

Excerpt

I think mankind is more than waist-deep in daily routine. Countless inherited acts,
accumulated pell-mell and repeated time after time to this very day, become habits
that help us live, imprison us, and make decisions for us throughout our lives.

Braudel 1979: 7

Time, Consumption and Everyday Life

'Time' has become a central topic of debate in the academy, just as it has in public life. Experiences of time poverty and hurriedness, burnout and stress are staples of popular discussion, media hype and political concern. Some commentators have even go so far as to diagnose 'the arrival of time politics' (Mulgan 2005; Virilio 2006 [1977]). The scope of the debate is considerable, stretching from alarmist critiques to more positive evaluations which revel in the busyness and fast pace of city life. On one end are critics of hyper-consumerism, denouncing a 'too much, too fast' life-style. Social movements are trying to slow down the speed of life, campaigning for a new 'simplicity', for slow food, slow cities, slow conferences, even slow sex (Christensen 2007; Elgin 1993; Honoré 2004; Parkins and Craig 2006). In this view, material civilization in affluent, wealth-orientated consumer societies has been spinning out of control, and the pace of life is becoming too fast for personal wellbeing and environmental sustainability (Aldrich 2005; Schor 1999). On the other end stands a view that sees busyness as a sign of full and active participation in society, based on an historical analysis which shows people working less and having much more leisure than ever before (Easterlin 2001).

This book responds to these divergent positions and ambivalent perceptions, seeing them as an entry into important unresolved issues about the direction of global change and the texture of consumer culture. The authors of these chapters undercut and challenge the easy dichotomies which link time to crisis or utopian movements by looking in more detail into the complex temporal organization of everyday life. Fast and slow turn out to be inadequate ways to describe past, present and future (Mintz 2006).

One reason for the cacophony of voices and feelings about the pace of life is that time itself is a complex subject that touches on everyday experience in many . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.