In The Meantime: Temporality And Cultural Politics

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In the Meantime: Temporality and Cultural Politics

The world is getting faster. This sentiment is proclaimed so often that it is taken for granted, rarely questioned or examined by those who celebrate the notion of an accelerated culture or by those who decry it. Sarah Sharma engages with that assumption in this sophisticated critical inquiry into the temporalities of everyday life. Sharma conducted ethnographic research among individuals whose jobs or avocations involve a persistent focus on time: taxi drivers, frequent-flyer business travelers, corporate yoga instructors, devotees of the slow-food and slow-living movements. Based on that research, she develops the concept of "power-chronography" to make visible the entangled and uneven politics of temporality. Focusing on how people's different relationships to labor configures their experience of time, she argues that both "speed-up" and "slow-down" often function as a form of biopolitical social control necessary to contemporary global capitalism.

Review

"In these dispatches from the frontlines of global capitalism, Sarah Sharma shows the unequal distribution of what Lewis Mumford decades ago called shock absorbers. Harold Innis meets Marx and postcolonial theory: time turns out to have both a price and color. The tale that life is getting faster will never...
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