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The leading historical sociologist in North America,

since the mid-1970s, based first at the New

School for Social Research and later Columbia,

Tilly has published a number of important works

dealing mainly with the social history of Europe.

Tilly’s major theme is social change and its relationship

with popular politics and state formation.

A hallmark of his approach is the ability to

ask large analytical questions, and to generate

fresh sources of empirical data with which to

explore them, leading to original and challenging

interpretations. This broad approach has been

used to tackle questions ranging from the reasons

for marked contrasts in forms of European state

formation, to the explanation of enduring patterns

of social inequality across time.

His major works include La Vende´e (1969), The

Rebellious Century (1975), The Contentious French

(1989), Coercion, Capital, and European States (1992),

and Durable Inequality (1998). In each case, his work

approaches the relationship between social structure

and human agency as a dynamic, fluid, and

complex set of processes. Tilly’s approach to

agency is, however, via political rather than cultural

sociology. Institutions and organized action

matter more than the meanings that individuals

and collectivities give to their actions.

Tilly has also contributed to a methodological

shift from heroic speculation to evidence-based explanation

in historical sociology. This is reflected in

Thomas, William I. (1863–1947) Tilly, Charles (1929– )


enterprises such as the database of 8,000 English

“contentious gatherings” between 1758 and 1834.

His overall legacy is both multidimensional and

interdisciplinary. ROBERT HOLTON


Until the 1980s sociologists largely neglected the

notion of “time,” but some notable exceptions included

mile Durkheim, Georges Gurvitch, and

George Herbert Mead. In Primitive Classification

(1905 [trans. 1963]), Durkheim argued that the

notion of time is relative to the type of society.

In Spectrum of Social Time (1961 [trans. 1964]),

Gurvitch explored the extent to which different

social situations, or even different societies, can

be characterized by a different rhythm or speed. In

The Philosophy of the Present (1959), Mead presented a

theory of society, central to which is the relationship

between the different temporal modes (past,

present, and future). In general, Martin Heidegger’s

Being and Time (1927 [trans. 1962]) influenced

sociological thinking about time to a great extent.

The last couple of decades in particular have

seen sociologists explore temporality in social

life. In Time and Social Theory (1990) and Timewatch:

The Social Analysis of Time (1995), Barbara Adam

recorded these intellectual endeavors; in Time in

Contemporary Intellectual Thought (2000), Patrick

Baert compared these developments in sociology

with those in other disciplines. It is important to

make a distinction between the theoretical treatment

of time and the empirical studies. We shall

see that the most exciting new developments lie at

the intersection of the two approaches.

Theoretical debates deal with time in at least

three ways. One dimension refers to the importance

attached to the lapse of time. Those who favor

a synchronic analysis take a snapshot of society,

whereas diachronic analysis studies social phenomena

across time. For instance, structuralism attributes

epistemological and ontological priority to

synchronic analysis, whereas evolutionary theory

implies a diachronic analysis. Some secondary

sources erroneously conflate diachronic analysis

with a study of change. The two do not necessarily

go together: social order is accomplished through

time, hence Anthony Giddens’s argument, in The

Constitution of Society (1984), that the study of order

also demands a diachronic analysis.

The second dimension of the theoretical debate

deals with the relationship between change and

continuity. For example, structuralism and functionalism

explore the workings of relatively invariant

structures underneath the temporal flux,

whereas Michel Foucault’s genealogical method,

Norbert Elias’s figurational sociology, and John

Urry’s use of complexity theory focus, all in different

ways, on contingency, change, and process.

Like Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900), Foucault was

fascinated by discontinuities and contingencies in

history. In What is Sociology? (1969), Elias deplored

the tendency amongst sociologists to use static

concepts and images. In Global Complexity (2003),

Urry argued that society today is characterized

by unprecedented movement, hence the need for

social theory to reflect this development.

The third component of the theoretical debate

explores the way in which the past, present, and

future are related. Causal–mechanical approaches

focus on how the past determines the present and

future, whereas teleological perspectives conceive

of the course of history as directed towards a

particular goal or telos. Throughout the twentieth

century, both views were heavily criticized. Theorists

like Mead and Niklas Luhmann prefer instead

to talk about the relative openness of the future

and how the future is partly constructed and redesigned

in the present. Influenced by Alfred

Whitehead and Henri Bergson, Mead’s Philosophy

of the Present (1959) explores how people, once confronted

with unpredictable situations, symbolically

reconstruct the past and conceptualize a

new future. Mead’s philosophical reflections on

time influenced Niklas Luhmann’s social systems


The empirical studies of time are manifold. In

the last couple of decades, research on timebudgets

has benefited from sophisticated techniques,

which increased its reliability. Timebudget

research is now a widespread methodological

device, used by sociologists for a variety

of purposes: for instance, to explore shifts in division

of labor in the household, the impact of

unemployment on people’s time use, or the effects

of new technologies in the workplace and outside.

Besides time-budget research, cross-disciplinary

empirical research has proved fruitful. For instance,

anthropologists and sociologists have

documented the different (or similar) time perceptions

and perspectives of different cultures,

classes, or ethnic groups. Another example is

that, inspired by E. P. Thompson’s Making of the

English Working Class (1963) and Foucault’s Discipline

and Punish (1975 [trans. 1977]), historians and

sociologists have studied the relationship between

the creation of a disciplined work force and the

implementation of a rigid time schedule.

Exciting new developments lie at the intersection

between theory and empirical research. There

is a considerable amount of literature on the

time time


differences between advanced societies and previous

societies, and on how these differences can be

expressed in temporal terms. In this context, we

have to make a distinction between efforts to

identify the nature of modernity on the one

hand, and attempts to characterize contemporary

society on the other.

From the outset, the social sciences, and sociology

in particular, have been interested in the

transition towards a modern, industrial, or advanced

society. This transition can be expressed

in temporal terms. Some authors, like Max Weber

and Foucault, focus on the link between modernity,

rationalization, and predictability. Weber

pointed out that the emergence of Protestantism

and rational capitalism was accompanied by a

more methodical usage of time, and the rise of

bureaucracy by greater predictability in the economic

and political realm. In a similar fashion,

Foucault showed how the shift towards a modern

society was accompanied by a more rational and

thorough surveillance of society; this led to

greater predictability and control of people’s behavior.

Other authors claim that, unlike in previous

eras, modern individuals are able to distance

themselves from, and reflect upon, the past. The

present can become a source for change. For

example, in Structural Anthropology (1958 [trans.

1968]), Claude Le´vi-Strauss made a distinction between

“cold” and “hot” societies. Whereas the

former operate in an energy-conserving fashion

as if mechanical instruments, the latter resemble

thermodynamic machines: they use up a huge

amount of energy, need constant refilling, and

are continually changing.

More recently, sociologists have reflected on the

nature of contemporary society and its similarities

with, and differences from, modernity or industrial

society. One category of authors sees contemporary

society as a radical break with modernity.

For example, Fredric Jameson and others talk

about postmodernity, emphasizing the fluid and

transient nature of society today. In postmodern

aesthetics, genuine novelty is regarded as impossible;

we can only articulate and revamp what

came before. Another category of authors emphasizes

continuity with modernity. Giddens and

Ulrich Beck refer to the present condition as

“high”, “late” or “second modernity.” In Consequences

of Modernity (1989), Giddens mentions

“time–space distanciation”: people now have technological

tools at their disposal to overcome timeand

space-related boundaries. People use symbolic

tokens, like money, to transcend time and space.

In Risk Society (1986 [trans. 1992]), Beck argues that

we now have to manage and control the negative,

unintended effects of previous attempts to control

nature. In this context, Adam notes, in Timescapes

of Modernity (1999), that we need to go beyond the

“short-termism” that characterizes current policymaking.

We can no longer rely on the knowledge

of the past to act effectively in the present.


time budgets

– see time diary methodology.

time diary methodology

Since Gary S. Becker’s work on the allocation of

time, “A Theory of the Allocation of Time,”

appeared in the Economic Journal in 1965, the

time diary approach to the investigation of the

actual disposal, or doing, of the living of everyday

(economic) life asks research participants to keep

a diarized record of the manner in which they

used their time over generally brief periods such

as a week or month. Time diaries are often supplied

with pre-categorized activity codes (for

example: shopping; going to the cinema; visiting

friends; visiting extended family), which allow participants

to record their activities readily in blocks

of time – often as short as ten to fifteen minutes.

Analysis of such records promises the understanding

of the manner in which (everyday/social/economic)

life is actually accomplished, rather than

merely reported on – given a skeptical reading of

the validity and reliability of interview data.

Time diaries have been used recently to study

a disparate range of social phenomena ranging

from the time-distribution spend by lone-parent

families with working mothers, through the costs

and benefits of educational spending in terms of

teacher–pupil contact-time spend in state schools,

to the comparative analysis of the work and

leisure-time balance of road versus rail commuters

in urban settings. Time diaries may be complemented

by a range of other methodologies such

as interview-based or post-back survey questionnaires,

the collection of demographic data, and

participant observation.

Time diaries suffer a range of limitations, however.

As post-hoc records, not only are time diaries

subject to the expected vagaries of attrition,

sample self-selection, memory, and social desirability

effects, but also time diaries appear to

be prone to a range of specific over- and underestimation

effects (for example, in North American

studies both hours at work and hours engaged

in housework are apparently routinely overreported).

Amusingly, some researchers have

time time diary methodology


noted that Americans do accurately report on the

number of hours they spend watching television.

More recent developments in time diary methodology

include the use of time–space diaries

which attempt to capture the embodied use of

time as more than an incorporeal abstraction

and, rather, see humans’ use of time as an essentially

spatially contingent phenomenon that

has, to date, been poorly captured by existing

time-alone diary methods.


time–space distantiation

– see Anthony Giddens.

Titmuss, Richard (1907–1973)

Professor of Social Administration at the London

School of Economics from 1950 until his premature

death in 1973, Titmuss was an influential

analyst of the British welfare state. His work emphasized

the importance of linking the study of

welfare to broader questions of economic policy.

Titmuss extended the scope of traditional approaches

to social policy in his examination of

the three main types of welfare: social (such as

social security and national insurance); fiscal (tax

relief and allowances); and occupational (benefits

in cash and kind through employers). In his classic

essay “The Social Division of Welfare,” in Essays on

“the Welfare State” (1958), Titmuss assessed the distribution

of contributions and benefits across different

social classes, highlighting the rewards

available to middle-class groups through the tax

and occupational system. This theme was explored

in essays and books such as Problems of

Social Policy (1950), Essays on the Welfare State

(1958), Income Distribution and Social Change (1962),

and Commitment to Welfare (1968). Titmuss’s approach

to social policy was shaped by his work in

the insurance industry, this providing the basis of

his interest and expertise in social statistics. In

1941 he was recruited to join a team preparing a

series of volumes on the history of World War II,

his own volume on the organization of social services.

Problems of Social Policy was important in

shaping Titmuss’s interest in the role of welfare

in fostering integration and consensus within society.

The idea of social policy creating opportunities

for altruism was developed in The Gift

Relationship (1970) where Titmuss examined blood

donorship as a model of compassion that transcends

immediate kin and community ties. This

study also reflects the connections between social

policy and sociology in Titmuss’s work, withE´mile

Durkheim and Max Weber being notable influences

in his approach to understanding social

solidarity on the one hand and the characteristics

of bureaucracy and large-scale organizations on

the other. CHRIS PH I L L I P SON

Tocqueville, Alexis de (1805–59)

A French political theorist, Tocqueville was also

active in public as a parliamentary representative

and, briefly, as Foreign Affairs Minister. De la de´mocratie

en Ame´rique was published in two parts

(1835 and 1840 [trans. 2003]). Though Tocqueville

was widely recognized early on, in Europe and in

the United States, as an original and profound

political thinker, thanks to the success of the first

part of Democracy in America, his contribution to

sociological theory was acknowledged only in the

mid and late twentieth century, particularly by

such authors as Raymond Aron, Reinhard Bendix,

and Robert N. Bellah. At the end of the century,

the apparent universal triumph of democracy

led some scholars to view Tocqueville’s thought

as a unique inspiration for a sustained consideration

of that new condition. More generally,

Tocqueville can be considered an inspiring forerunner

or indeed a sophisticated practitioner

of what currently goes under the name of

comparative-historical sociology.

Owing to his social and economic position as a

provincial aristocrat and landowner, Tocqueville

was never active as an academic scholar, but as an

individual of independent means who wrote (very

effectively and successfully) for a broader, cultured

public. He directed his attention to themes

widely recognized as politically and morally, not

just intellectually, significant, and although he

grounded his treatment of them on serious research

and reflection, he freely expounded the

values and concerns which motivated his work.

According to some critics, he relied excessively

on quickly, intuitively formed assessments and

evaluations of circumstances and events. Tocqueville’s

thinking was largely inspired by his concern

about the current condition of his beloved France,

but acquired a theoretical dimension through his

reflections on phenomena also affecting other

western countries. The most significant such phenomenon

was democracy, that is the institutional

affirmation of the equality of all individuals. This

new principle denied legitimacy to aristocracy,

that is to the social, political, and economic arrangements

which for centuries had characterized

European society, assigning widely different sets

of rights and obligations, resources and liabilities

time–space distantiation Tocqueville, Alexis de (1805–59)


to the members of various, publicly sanctioned

ranks or orders.

Democracy, Tocqueville argued, was inexorably

advancing throughout the western world, but at a

different pace and with different effects in different

parts of it. In the United States, democracy

had not needed to displace previously existent

aristocratic arrangements, and on this account

the Americans’ strong attachment to equality did

not seriously threaten another social value, most

dear to Tocqueville himself -- freedom. Such a

threat was particularly great in countries with

an aristocratic past, where the democratic enthronement

of equality had taken place, or had

to take place, through revolution (see revolution,

theory of).

Recent French events showed that such circumstances

could lead to recurrent and violent social

and political disorder, and possibly to a novel,

democratic form of despotism. This respected the

overwhelming attachment of the population to

equality, and encouraged the resultant tendency

towards social atomization and the individual’s

overwhelming concern with their economic security

and advantage. Thus the society’s political

center could indefinitely increase the scope and

variety of its activities, directing them to the

satisfaction of that concern, and dissuading individuals

from looking beyond their private circumstances

and involving themselves in matters of

public significance, which would remain the

exclusive province of an increasingly pervasive

central government.

In Tocqueville’s judgment, the United States

had been preserved from such a development

by the concurrence of multiple, diverse factors,

such as the persistence within its population of

religiously inspired values, the constitutional dispersion

of public powers through federal arrangements,

the social prestige of law, and the freedom

of the press and of association. Furthermore,

Americans, without renouncing their concern

with their private well-being, were often willing

to associate with one another in voluntary associations

which undertook certain public tasks instead

of leaving all of them to the government.

Tocqueville’s reflections on this phenomenon

are one of the acknowledged sources of the

contemporary concept of social capital.

But even in the United States the institutional

equilibrium between the value of equality and

that of freedom was intrinsically precarious, given

in particular the American tendency to moral and

intellectual conformism, one aspect of what

Tocqueville called “the tyranny of the majority.”

On this account, later admirers have hailed him as

a “prophet of the mass age.”

Tocqueville’s second major work, The Old Regime

and the Revolution (1856 [trans. 1955]), expounds a

bold thesis on the nature and origins of the

French Revolution, denying that it constituted a

sudden, wholesale break with the French past.

Tocqueville considers the strengthening of French

governmental institutions as the most significant

outcome of the Revolution, but sees this as the

culmination of a very long process. According

to him, French absolutism had systematically

deprived of political significance all autonomous

social forces (beginning with the estates of the

nobility, urban and regional corporate bodies,

and independent tribunals) and conferred wide,

unchallengeable powers upon agencies established,

controlled, and activated by the monarch

and his immediate collaborators. By thus depriving

civil society of its power to counter encroachments

on its autonomy, absolutism had atomized

that society and rendered it incapable of acting

coherently on behalf of national interests, including

those entrusted to the monarchy itself and

threatened, most particularly, by the disarray in

the French public finances.

Whatever the merits of this thesis, in the process

of arguing it Tocqueville made considerable

contributions to the sociology of revolutions and

other aspects of the sociological discipline. He

argued, for instance, that sometimes attempts by

existent regimes to improve the conditions of subaltern

groups, to the very extent that they are

successful, heighten those groups’ awareness of

their continuing condition of relative disadvantage,

increasing rather than lessening their protest

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