The Timespace of Human Activity: On Performance, Society, and History as Indeterminate Teleological Events

Overview

This book shows that a concept of activity timespace drawn from the work of Martin Heidegger provides new insights into the nature of activity, society, and history. Although the book is a work of theory, it has significant implications for the determination and course, not just of activity, but of sociohistorical change as well. Drawing on empirical examples, the book argues (1) that timespace is a key component of the overall space and time of social life, (2) that interwoven timespaces form an essential ...

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The Timespace of Human Activity: On Performance, Society, and History as Indeterminate Teleological Events

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Overview

This book shows that a concept of activity timespace drawn from the work of Martin Heidegger provides new insights into the nature of activity, society, and history. Although the book is a work of theory, it has significant implications for the determination and course, not just of activity, but of sociohistorical change as well. Drawing on empirical examples, the book argues (1) that timespace is a key component of the overall space and time of social life, (2) that interwoven timespaces form an essential infrastructure of important social phenomena such as power, coordinated actions, social organizations, and social systems, and (3) that history encompasses constellations of indeterminate temporalspatial events. The latter conception of history in turn yields a propitious account of how the past exists in the present. In addition, because the concept of activity timespace highlights the teleological character of human action, the book contains an extensive defense of the teleological character of such allegedly ateleological forms of activity as emotional and ceremonial actions. Since, finally, the book's ideas about timespace and activity as an indeterminate event derive from an interpretation of Heidegger, the work furthers understanding of the relevance of his thought for social and historical theory. The book combines textual interpretation, theoretical argumentation, and empirical substantiation. Many of its empirical examples are taken from the Blue Grass Horse Country around Lexington, Kentucky, where the author resides.

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Editorial Reviews

Stephen Turner
With this book, Ted Schatzki provides a remarkable synthesis and expansion of his past work. By adding considerations of time and space, practice, and the role of performance, the ceremonial, and teleological in human action to a Heideggerian starting point, he gives us a novel approach to the philosophy of action that gets beyond formalism and meaningfully connects with substantive problems.
Elizabeth Shove
In this exciting and inspiring book, Schatzki turns previous accounts of social practice inside-out to reveal the timespace of human activity. With each chapter new lines of enquiry come tumbling forth, challenging and at the same time invigorating established agendas across sociology, psychology, history, and geography.
Anthony King
Ted Schatzki is a leading figure in the philosophy of the social sciences. The Timespace of Human Activity represents a major development of the philosophy of practice, articulated in his previous books. Drawing principally on the work of Martin Heidegger, Ted Schatzki explores the way in which the world is constituted through human activity activity and how that world influences the very possibility of our existence. Schatzki builds his analysis through careful exegesis of the works of Heidegger, Lefebvre, Bergson, and others, interspersing his interpretations with vivid examples from everyday life. The book speaks to existential issues which have become central to contemporary debates in the social sciences and philosophy and will be required reading for all those interested in what it is to be human.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Theodore R. Schatzki is professor and associate dean of faculty in the department of philosophy at the University of Kentucky. He is author of Social Practices: A Wittgensteinian Approach to Human Activity and the Social, The Site of the Social: A Philosophical Exploration of the Constitution of Social Life and Change, and Martin Heidegger: Theorist of Space, as well as coeditor of The Practice Turn in Contemporary Theory.

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Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments ix

1 The Timespace of Human Activity 1

2 Activity Timespace and Social Life 65

3 The Dominion of Teleology 111

4 Activity and History as Indeterminate Temporalspatial Events 165

Bibliography 233

Index 247

About the Author 255

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