A Watched Pot: How We Experience Time

Overview

Time, it has been said, is the enemy. In an era of harried lives, time seems increasingly precious as hours and days telescope and our lives often seem to be flitting past. And yet, at other times, the minutes drag on, each tick of the clock excruciatingly drawn out. What explains this seeming paradox?

Based upon a full decade's empirical research, Michael G. Flaherty's new book offers remarkable insights on this most universal human experience. Flaherty surveys hundreds of ...

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A Watched Pot: How We Experience Time

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Overview

Time, it has been said, is the enemy. In an era of harried lives, time seems increasingly precious as hours and days telescope and our lives often seem to be flitting past. And yet, at other times, the minutes drag on, each tick of the clock excruciatingly drawn out. What explains this seeming paradox?

Based upon a full decade's empirical research, Michael G. Flaherty's new book offers remarkable insights on this most universal human experience. Flaherty surveys hundreds of individuals of all ages in an attempt to ascertain how such phenomena as suffering, violence, danger, boredom, exhilaration, concentration, shock, and novelty influence our perception of time. Their stories make for intriguing reading, by turns familiar and exotic, mundane and dramatic, horrific and funny.

A qualitative and quantitative tour de force, A Watched Pot presents what may well be the first fully integrated theory of time and will be of interest to scientists, humanists, social scientists and the educated public alike.

A Choice Outstanding Academic Book.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Masterful. This is arguably the most comprehensive inquiry to date by a sociologist on the perception of time, its passage and duration."

-Barry Glassner,University of Southern California

"A highly original and colorful book, filled with compelling, real life and fictional examples."

-Jack Katz,UCLA

"Flaherty invites us to the fascinating world of the phenomenology of time. Particularly sensitive to the inherent tension between the standard and the idiosyncratic, he offers a cross-situational, generic analysis of the circumstances when there is a considerable discrepancy between clock time and our subjective experience of duration such that we feel that time is either compressed (‘flies') or protracted (‘stands still'). . . . Clearly conceptualized and elegantly written, A Watched Pot is phenomenology at its best."

-Eviatar Zerubavel,author of Hidden Rhythms and The Seven Day Circle

"An engaging and profound analysis of a central aspect of the human condition, for, as Flaherty shows, our experiences of the world around us affect how we experience time."

-Qualitative Sociology,Vol. 24, No. 3, 2001

Qualitative Sociology
An engaging and profound analysis of a central aspect of the human condition, for, as Flaherty shows, our experiences of the world around us affect how we experience time.
Booknews
Sociologist Flaherty distills a decade of empirical research to explore the human experience of time. From a large survey, he ascertains the extent to which the perception of time is influenced by such factors as suffering, violence, danger, boredom, exhilaration, concentration, shock, and novelty. In the course of the study he constructs a theory of time. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
Choice
An engaging treatise that assesses why a certain duration sometimes seems to go by in a flash and at other times seems interminable.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814726860
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 11/1/2000
  • Pages: 190
  • Product dimensions: 5.48 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Flaherty is Professor and Chair of Sociology at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
1 Introduction 1
2 Paradoxical Variation 20
3 Protracted Duration 40
4 Theory Construction 84
5 Temporal Compression 115
6 Conclusion 136
Methodological Appendix 161
Notes 183
Index 215
About the Author 231
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