|(2011). Researching the Third Sector through Time: Methods, Ethics and Insights, University of Leeds. third sector
method: longitudinal analysis
Method: life histories
There is a growing interest in the use of qualitative longitudinal and life history methods in third sector research. Engaging qualitatively with time enables a more finely grained understanding of the dynamics of third sector organisations – their histories, their strategies for the future, and their journeys through a complex and rapidly changing policy landscape. This seminar will bring together a number of funded projects that are using such methods to produce distinctive forms of knowledge on the third sector. Some are using Qualitative longitudinal methods to chart and shed light on long term processes of support and transformation within the sector in times of increasing austerity and changes in public funding. These prospective tracking projects chart change in the making. They will be complemented with life history projects that look backwards in time, tracing changes historically and illustrating causality through the intersection of past and present.
The broad aims of the event are to enable a detailed sharing of methodological and ethical issues arising from a qualitative engagement with time in third sector research, to reflect and share insights that are emerging from these varied studies and to consider the possibilities for data sharing and comparative analysis across these and similar projects. Speakers include Victoria Bell (Teeside), Sue Bond (Edinburgh Napier), Irene Hardill (Northumberland), David Lewis (LSE), and Rob Macmillan (Birmingham) and Zoe Munby (Home Start). The event is being hosted by the Timescapes Qualitative Longitudinal Initiative, in collaboration with the Third Sector Research Centre, with funding from the Economic and Social Research Council.
Abbott, A. (2001). Time Matters: On Theory and Method. Chicago, University of Chicago Press.Sociology
temporality of academic work
assumptions about time obscuring x
critique of discipline
What do variables really tell us? When exactly do inventions occur? Why do we always miss turning points as they transpire? When does what doesn't happen mean as much, if not more, than what does? Andrew Abbott considers these fascinating questions in Time Matters, a diverse series of essays that constitutes the most extensive analysis of temporality in social science today. Ranging from abstract theoretical reflection to pointed methodological critique, Abbott demonstrates the inevitably theoretical character of any methodology. Time Matters focuses particularly on questions of time, events, and causality. Abbott grounds each essay in straightforward examinations of actual social scientific analyses. Throughout, he demonstrates the crucial assumptions we make about causes and events, about actors and interaction and about time and meaning every time we employ methods of social analysis, whether in academic disciplines, market research, public opinion polling, or even evaluation research. Turning current assumptions on their heads, Abbott not only outlines the theoretical orthodoxies of empirical social science, he sketches new alternatives, laying down foundations for a new body of social theory.
see particularly see Chapter 7 Temporality and Process in Social Life
Aching, G. (2010). "Carnival time versus modern social life: a false distinction." Social Identities: Journal for the Study of Race, Nation and Culture 16(4): 415-425.social time
break in time
suspensions of everyday time
Closely examining the dance form of winin' ubiquitous in Trinidad and Tobago's carnival, this essay argues for the inextricability of carnival time and contemporary social life. In contrast to the notion that carnival constitutes interruptions or postponements of projects of modernity and, especially, that it invokes a temporality and social space where ideologies may be blissfully suspended, this study illustrates how this dance form articulates the status of and quest for personal freedoms in public spaces and contests a specific gender ideology. The essay describes and interrogates how winin', mediates the relationship between competing pleasures – those of the state and of the carnival reveller respectively – and illustrates the extent to which the dance form's exaggerated and hypervisible practices constitute a demand for social engagement.
Adam, B. (1989). "Feminist social theory needs time: Reflections on the relation between feminist thought, social theory and time as an important parameter in social analysis." Sociological Review 37(3): 458-473.methodology
This paper explores the relation between feminist concerns, social theory and the multiple time aspects of social life. It is suggested that while feminist approaches have been located in classical political philosophy, the same imposed classification has not occurred with respect to social theory perspectives. Rather than seeing this as an academic gap that needs filling, it was taken as an opportunity to take note of the wide variety of feminist approaches to methodological and theoretical issues and to relate these to concerns arising from a focus on the time, temporality, and timing of social life. It is argued that a feminist social theory, as an understanding of the social world through the eyes of women, is not only complemented by such a focus on time but dependent on it for an opportunity to transcend the pervasive vision of the ‘founding fathers’.
Adam, B. (1994). Time and Social Theory. Cambridge, Polity.Adam
Assumptions about time obscuring x
time as missing element
critique of discipline
Time is at the forefront of contemporary scholarly inquiry across the natural sciences and the humanities. Yet the social sciences have remained substantially isolated from time-related concerns. This book argues that time should be a key part of social theory and focuses concern upon issues which have emerged as central to an understanding of today's social world.Through her analysis of time Barbara Adam shows that our contemporary social theories are firmly embedded in Newtonian science and classical dualistic philosophy. She exposes these classical frameworks of thought as inadequate to the task of conceptualizing our contemporary world of standardized time, computers, nuclear power and global telecommunications.
Adam, B. (1995). Timewatch: The Social Analysis of Time. Cambridge, Polity Press.Social time
time as missing element
time as symbolic resource
Time forms such an important part of our lives that it is rarely thought about. In this book the author moves beyond the time of clocks and calendars in order to study time as embedded in social interactions, structures, practices and knowledge, in artefacts, in the body, and in the environment. The author looks at the many different ways in which time is experienced, in relation to the various contexts and institutions of social life. Among the topics discussed are time in the areas of health, education, work, globalization and environmental change. Through focusing on the complexities of social time she explores ways of keeping together what social science traditions have taken apart, namely, time with reference to the personal-public, local-global and natural-cultural dimensions of social life. Barbara Adam's time-based approach engages with, yet differs from postmodernist writings. It suggests ways not merely to deconstruct but to reconstruct both common-sense and social science understanding.This book will be of interest to undergraduates, graduates and academics in the areas of sociology, social theory environmental/green issues, feminist theory, cultural studies, philosophy, peace studies, education, social policy and anthropology.
Adam, B. (1996). "Beyond the Present: Nature, Technology and the Democratic Ideal " Time & Society 5(3): 319-338.Technology
conceptions of time
temporally extended responsibilities
time as symbolic resource
coordinating between different times
changing perceptions of time
It is widely recognized that globalization, contemporary technologies and environmental hazards pose problems for the political ideal of democracy. An explicit focus on time gives us a new point of access to these debates. No longer understood in the singular as the implicit context within political processes take place, time in its complex, multiple expressions can serve as a tool for reconceptualization. In its single and conglomerate forms it is lived and negotiated in conflict. This is nowhere more apparent than in globalized socio-political processes with their varied ties to contemporary technology, most specifically when these are concerned with environmental hazards. In such situations the conflict is not merely between different scarcities of and needs for time, but between temporalities that operate to different principles: the variable. rhythmic temporality of nature and the cosmos, on the one hand, and the industrial times of the machine, the laboratory and economic considerations, on the other hand. It is between new configurations of actors past, present and future where concerns, rights and duties extend beyond the present to peoples long dead and those whose future present is constructed by our contemporary political and scientific actions. Together, these temporal features and complexities present crucial conceptual and political challenges for the next century.
Adam, B. (2010). "History of the future: Paradoxes and challenges." Rethinking History: The Journal of Theory and Practice 14(3): 361 - 378.Future
method: dynamic rather than static
time as missing element
critique of discipline
what is not yet
Social action is performed in the temporal domain of open and fluid pasts and futures. It is both mindful of the recoverable and lived past and projectively oriented towards an intangible future. It sets processes in motion that ripple through the entire system, across space and time, to eventually emerge as facts. This futurity of action tends to get lost in analyses that concentrate primarily on empirically accessible, factual outcomes of plans, decisions, hopes and fears. To encompass this ‘not yet’ as the central component in the production of social facts requires historical knowledge of the future. The paper presents a broad-brush analysis of changing approaches to the future and ends with reflections on necessary changes to the logic of social inquiry in order that social futurity may be accorded its appropriate place in the study of social life.
Adam, B., C. Groves, et al. (2006). "In Pursuit of the Future." Retrieved 28th August 2011, 2011, from www.cardiff.ac.uk/socsi/futures/index.html.futurity
temporally extended responsibilities
Societies are developing and investing in technological and scientific innovations that have ever longer-term consequences for human and non-human life. Current future-producing practices include biotechnologies, nanotechnologies, and nuclear technologies. Such developments unleash futures that we cannot predict, and set in motion processes that will affect untold generations to come.
:: Knowing Futures
So there is a disjunction between what we do, and what we can know; while we design and implement new technologies, we cannot know their future consequences. Predictions and foresight methods used in formulating policy rely on scientific prediction, which builds up models of the future based on knowledge of the past. Where innovative technologies operating in contexts of complexity are concerned, this approach cannot help us.
This disjunction between knowing and doing creates a context for irresponsibility, in which all responsibility for that which cannot be seen, traced or detected in the present becomes displaced, and externalised for future generations to bear.
This project aims to address this contemporary disjunction between technological capacity and human understanding, together with the ethical problems it creates.
The research brings together isolated fields of enquiry in theory, practice, and ethics, and works towards a comprehensive, socially relevant theory of the future.
In its first, main phase, the project is primarily focused on theoretical matters, such as how the future is known, theorized, conceptualized and minded across diverse academic fields and sectors. Accordingly, the main sources are philosophy and social theory.
The first series of questions guiding our research are as follows:
How is the future theorised across diverse fields of knowledge?
What are present and past means to ‘know’ the future?
How is the future implicated in social science practice?
What ethical approaches to long-term responsibility for the outcomes of current actions are available?
In the project’s second phase, the focus shifts to more practical areas of inquiry. The second series of questions are as follows:
How is daily life oriented towards the future: economically, environmentally, scientifically, religiously and politically?
How are aspirations actualised?
How is the future produced in daily practice?
More specifically, the research focuses on socio-environmental matters and the increasing gulf between the capacity to create damaging long-term futures and the inability to predict long-term impacts. In this part of the research programme, we are concerned directly with practical matters of accountability and responsibility in contexts of uncertainty. Some overarching questions related to ethical responses to futures in the making are as follows:
How are unintended consequences handled economically, politically and scientifically?
How are participants in the various domains of social practice held accountable and responsible for future outcomes of their actions?
What conditions and circumstances exempt persons from being held accountable and responsible for future outcomes of their actions?
Adesanmi, P. (2004). "Of Postcolonial Entanglement and Durée: Reflections on the Francophone African Novel." Comparative Literature 56(3): 227-242.literary theory
absence of future
perception of time
time as symbolic
time as tool for political legitimation
continuity over time
Method: dynamic rather than static
invention of tradition
What might have been
Past in the present
Abstract not available - Introduction: Afropessimism and temporality One fundamental consequence of the tragic failure of the postcolonial nationstate in Africa has been the elaboration of discursive positions underpinned by sentiments of despair and hopelessness. With one developmentalist thesis after another crumbling under the weight of civil wars, famine, poverty, social inertia, and political stasis, it has become the norm in various Africanist disciplines to homogenize the continent's postcolonial space as one uniform site of dysfunctionality.' Underpinning the reasons often proffered for this pervasive Afropessimism is the belief that "the African condition"2 can only be understood from the perspective of what Simon Gikandi calls "the schemata of difference" (455), difference, that is, from the teleological ethos of the Occident. Thus, an entire discursive symbology has evolved to place the temporal frame of the African postcolony within a largely unproblematized sign of negativity. This is the difficulty of speaking "rationally" about Africa that Achille Mbembe evokes in the introduction to On the Postcolony. In an effort to transcend both Afropessimist representations of the African condition and the Eurocentric paradigms that underlie some of them, Patrick Chabal and Jean-Pascal Daloz propose in Africa Works an analytical grid designed to reveal the "continuities in their historicity." Although their study focuses on articulations of agency in the informal infra-State contexts of African postcolonies,Chabal and Daloz are able to show that Afropessimism devolves from scholarly practices and discursive formations that are too often fixated on the tragedy of Africa's colonial past and the imperfect modernity of the nation-state it engendered. The trouble with such positions is that they often underestimate the dynamism of the present, subsuming its independent vitality within the causal instrumentality of a colonial past that is made to function as an exegetical grid for every aspect of the postcolonial condition. Chabal and Daloz, on the other hand, while acknowledging the significance of the past, do not downplay the vitality of a present marked by the interweaving of Africa's colonial and postcolonial realities. If the need to overcome the passe inclinations of Afropessimism also bespeaks a certain anxiety regarding temporality, as one clearly sees in Africa Works, it is because every attempt to privilege what Fredric Jameson calls "the ontology of the present" (215) carries the risk of unsettling altogether the authority of the African past. That is, if, asJameson suggests, "ontologies of the present demand archeologies of the future, not forecasts of the past"-the reference to Edouard Glissant's well-known notion of vision prophitique du passe ("the prophetic vision of the past") (227) is obvious-what then happens to the past of subject peoples, a past that requires precisely the sort of creative engagement that Jameson dismisses? How does one proceed to valorize this past without making the present its prisoner? This dilemma was largely responsible for the initially lukewarm attitude of African (ist) scholarship to postcolonial theory, a body of knowledge that has never quite been able to overcome the semantic import of its problematic prefix.3
Agamben, G. (1993). The Coming Community. Minneapolis, University of Minnesota.Philosophy
Unquestionably an influential thinker in Italy today, Giorgio Agamben has contributed to some of the most vital philosophical debates of our time. "The Coming Community" is an indispensable addition to the body of his work. How can we conceive a human community that lays no claim to identity - being American, being Muslim, being communist? How can a community be formed of singularities that refuse any criteria of belonging? Agamben draws on an eclectic and exciting set of sources to explore the status of human subjectivities outside of general identity. From St Thomas' analysis of halos to a stocking commercial shown in French cinemas, and from the Talmud's warning about entering paradise to the power of the multitude in Tiananmen Square, Agamben tracks down the singular subjectivity that is coming in the contemporary world and shaping the world to come. Agamben develops the concept of community and the social implications of his philosophical thought. "The Coming Community" offers both a philosophical mediation and the beginnings of a new foundation for ethics, one grounded beyond subjectivity, ideology, and the concepts of good and evil.
Agamben's exploration is, in part, a contemporary and creative response to the work of Heidegger, Wittgenstein, Blanchot, Jean-Luc Nancy, and, more historically, Plato, Spinoza, and medieval scholars and theorists of Judeo-Christian scriptures. This volume is the first in a new series that encourages transdisciplinary exploration and destabilizes traditional boundaries between disciplines, nations, genders, races, humans, and machines. Giorgio Agamben currently teaches philosophy at the College International de Philosophie in Paris and at the University of Macerata (Italy). He is the author of "Language and Death" (Minnesota, 1991) and "Stanzas" (Minnesota, 1992). This book is intended for those in the fields of cultural theory, literary theory, philosophy.
Agamben, G. (1993). Time and History: Critique of the Instant and the Continuum. Infancy and History: The Destruction of Experience. G. Agamben. London, Verso: 91-105.Knowledge
changing perceptions of time
communities in crisis
Book description: How and why did experience and knowledge become separated? Is it possible to talk of an infancy of experience, a "dumb" experience? For Walter Benjamin, the "poverty of experience" was a characteristic of modernity, originating in the catastrophe of the First World War. For Giorgio Agamben, the Italian editor of Benjamin's complete works, the destruction of experience no longer needs catastrophes: daily life in any modern city will suffice. Agamben's profound and radical exploration of language, infancy, and everyday life traces concepts of experience through Kant, Hegel, Husserl and Benveniste. In doing so he elaborates a theory of infancy that throws new light on a number of major themes in contemporary thought: the anthropological opposition between nature and culture; the linguistic opposition between speech and language; the birth of the subject and the appearance of the unconscious. Agamben goes on to consider time and history; the Marxist notion of base and superstructure (via a careful reading of the famous Adorno-Benjamin correspondence on Baudelaire's Paris); and the difference between rituals and games. Beautifully written, erudite and provocative, these essays will be of great interest to students of philosophy, linguistics, anthropology and politics.
Agnew, J. (1996). "Time into Space: The Myth of 'Backward' Italy in Modern Europe " Time & Society