Time / Edition 1

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What is time? How has our relationship to time changed through history and how does time structure our social lives?

In this lively introduction, Barbara Adam explores the changing ways in which time has been understood and how this knowledge is embedded in cultural practices. She takes the reader on a journey of discovery that extends from ancient mythology and classical philosophy to the contemporary social world of high-speed computer networks and globalized social relations.

The book poses key questions about the nature of time, how it is conceptualized, what it means in practice and how the parameters set by nature have been transcended across the ages by the human quest for time know-how and control. It provides the reader with a good basis for understanding the role of time in contemporary social life.

This book assumes no previous knowledge. Through its broad perspective and transdisciplinary approach it provides an accessible and wide-ranging introduction for students and teachers across the social sciences.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Read a few paragraphs and your mind is racing onto otherthemes, examples and questions. The book can be used in a varietyof different ways and the reader is fortunate that Barbara Adam hasnot lost her gift for bringing a sense of urgency and excitement tothe topic.”

“An obvious candidate to be the book which anyone shouldread if they want an overview of the field, but it will also offersfresh insights to those who have already made their own temporalinvestigations ... it is a delight to me to see the full floweringof such a persistent and imaginative scholar.”
British Journal of Sociology

“The path it traces through the history of human thoughtabout time is illuminating.”

“This is a very wide-ranging and erudite examination ofcountless notions of time throughout history. Barbara Adam sets outa whole new agenda for ‘time’ analysis.”
John Urry, University of Lancaster

“In a book grounded in top-notch scholarship, BarbaraAdam traces how time has been viewed and lived through history andcivilization.”
Ronald Purser, San Francisco State University

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Barbara Adam is Professor of Sociology at Cardiff University.

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Table of Contents

Prologue 1
Pt. I What is Time? 3
1 Time Stories 6
Gods of Time 6
In the Beginning 8
Paradise and the Fall 11
Encounters with Death 12
Journeys to the Otherworld 13
Cycles of Renewal and Regeneration 14
Beyond Death: Resurrection and Redemption 16
Reflections: Myth for Today's Theory and Practice 17
2 Time Theories I 22
Western Philosophy: Ontology to Epistemology 23
Natural Science: Clockwork Universe and Change 29
Enlightenment Theories: A Priori and Dialectic 33
Social Theory: Practice, Value and Category 36
3 Time Theories II 51
Western Philosophy: Time Within 51
The Sciences of System-Specific Times 60
Social Theory and the Past, Present and Future 64
Pt. II What is the Role of Time in Social Life? 71
4 Cultural Practices of Time Transcendence 75
Making Time Stand Still 76
Knowing Fate, Forging Futures 82
Creating Immortality and Permanence 89
Modifying Nature's Times and Rhythms 94
Superimposing Phases and Social Structure 98
5 In Pursuit of Time Know-how 102
Reckoning Time 103
Creating Clock Time 112
Mobilizing World Time 117
Networking Instantaneity 119
6 The Quest for Time Control 123
Commodification 124
Compressions 128
Colonization 136
Control 143
Epilogue 150
Notes 153
Further Reading 166
Bibliography 168
Index 177
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