Time, Memory, and Society

Time, Memory, and Society

Time, Memory, and Society

Time, Memory, and Society

Synopsis

"Why should the sociologist concern himself with time?" asks Franco Ferrarotti in his latest work. Temporality is, he argues, the essential fluid dimension in the study of the social. Including time as a factor in sociological analysis is the only way to reintroduce the dynamic moment of social reality as a mental construct into an analytical process otherwise reified by the limits of quantitative methods. Ultimately, Ferrarotti contends, the usual way of laying out and proceeding with sociological analysis must be decisively inverted. This book is challenging reading for the sociologist and philosopher alike.

Excerpt

Time's reasons cannot be easily accommodated within the framework of traditional historicism. Leonard Krieger is certainly correct in trying to defend the autonomy of history against the widespread claim that history is coming to an end. His book, Time's Reasons, is both a passionate attempt and a well-reasoned argument aimed at restoring the autonomy of history as an academic discipline. the question remains, however, and looms larger than ever before: which history? History as an élite enterprise or history "from below," that is, history of the everyday? Conceived as a self-enclosed intellectual effort, history has given birth to historicism, of which there are many uses, as it has been often pointed out (see, for example, the recent book by David D. Roberts, Benedetto Croce and the Uses of Historicism). But the tension between historical time, individual and collective memory, and social context in its multifaceted transformations seems to be a permanent characteristic, not to mention the extreme variety of its linguistic expression. Moreover, through remembrance, historical time becomes contemporary time, and is constantly reenacted and relived through a process of "remembering interiorisation," which is essential to the constitution of the subject. Using Dilthey and Bergson as personalized polemical targets, this book intends to show the constructive importance of past experience in order to discover and recover the meaning of present day living and of the seminal values of tradition.

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