Marian Preda & Ștefania Matei

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Barbara Adam introduces a “timescape perspective” as an analytical framework that might be used to capture the complex and multiple temporalities involved in commonly occurring sociocultural processes (Adam 2005). She has developed a method to take time into account as an immanent phenomenon to be found not only in business practices, market structures, technological architectures, and political endeavours, but also in other actions that make up reality. A timescape perspective is a tool that cultivates a sociological sensitivity to the temporal dimension of the world. Such an enriched perspective might be accomplished by asking relevant time-related questions that could open up new directions of study and create alternative areas of inquiry. Based on these assumptions, Adam has shown that modernity created a hegemony of the clock time in an attempt to make nature subject to human control. Modernity has produced a commodification of time through the interaction of various institutions that participated both in the formation of the nation-state and in the establishment of a capitalist mode of production. These institutions have jointly operated to stabilize a conception of time as a universal, uniform, decontextualized and measurable asset that might be used, allocated, converted and exchanged on a market-like basis. Therefore, modernity generated a quantified conception of time and gave rise to distinctive habits of mind by assuming a version of time as a resource that might be translatable into money. This conception is embedded in the Newtonian imaginary, which influenced every sphere of social life and therefore has progressively become implicated in the production of important environmental hazards.

With the transition from modernity to postmodernity, we assist in a reconstruction of the basic cognitive structures that previously served as markers of truth and social validation. Specifically, the pursuit of objectivity has been replaced with epistemological relativism, representationalism with eclecticism, exclusionary categories with fluid identities, the desiderata of predictability with the recognition of uncertainty and indeterminacy, economic systems with symbolic systems, and so on. In this new configuration of meaning and living, new versions of time are emerging and new habits of mind are taking shape.

Therefore, we invite authors to reconsider the sociocultural and political phenomena of postmodernity through a timescapes lens. The papers could consider especially, but not exclusively the following lines of inquiry: How does postmodernity change the consciousness of time? What are the metaphors used to make sense of time in postmodernity? How is time present in the new ideological shifts that characterize the postmodern political realm? How are the temporal dimensions of past, present and future appropriated in a postmodern culture? What kind of concepts are generated and legitimated in the enactment of a postmodern socio-temporal order? What are the timescapes of postmodernity? How are they different from those of modernity? What kind of challenges and risks do they pose to society, and how they might be mitigated?