Conflicts In Time: Rethinking 'Contemporary' Globalisation
Seminar Series March 2008 – March 2011
This seminar series brings together sociologists, anthropologists, social geographers, museum specialists, activists and artists in a rethinking of the importance of struggles over time to processes of globalisation. We aim to question the frequent assumption in theories of globalisation that we live within a shared present in which time is experienced in one way and is an abstract container for social action. So far this has obscured the diverse experiences of and social struggles over pasts and futures that make up the present and shape the future of globalisation. Building on an existing cross-institutional discussion group of anthropologists who have worked on issues of temporality and linking together academics in a range of institutions in the UK and Europe, the research seminar series will address several core themes. First, we will uncover the reality of specific current struggles over senses and trajectories of time. Secondly, we will examine the various ways in which social rhythms are now being managed and institutionalised. Thirdly, we will address the complexity of the experiences of the present that vary according to social location, temporal practices and work-place rhythms. Addressing these themes will allow us to track the actually existing shape of the timescapes of globalisation and the unpredictable outcomes of their interactions.
We have identified four key sites for exploring the conflicts in time characteristic of current practices of globalisation each of which will be addressed in turn by the workshop series. These are heritage organizations, planning institutions, social movements and global workplaces. All of these institutions attempt to mediate between economic, political, popular and intimate practices of time. Also they seek to arbitrate and shape the boundary between private and public uses and experiences of time. This focus on institutional sites will allow us to meet our aim of moving beyond the anthropological claim that there are diverse senses of time into an exploration of the political and ethical negotiations between these. In addition we will be able to fulfil our goal of developing the growing argument within social geography that there is no single experience of neo-liberal or globalised time. The focus in the workshop series on comparative studies of these institutions from a range of global contexts will enable us to succeed in bringing the theories and empirical findings of sociologists, anthropologists and social geographers into dialogue with each other in a controlled exercise of interdisciplinary work. From this empirical ground we will formulate a new theoretical model in the final fifth seminar that will examine how several senses of time are lived by one subject and how various temporal practices alter each other at key social sites. At this seminar we will also analyse global trends in the management and politics of time by tracing the borrowing of time-practices between and among these institutions. Overall the research seminar series will aim to create new insights by addressing domains that are not usually theorised together—the culture industries, bureaucracy, activism and labour. In addition it will innovatively aim to bring within one analytical frame time-practices that are oriented towards the past, present and future.
UCL, May 2008
Post-conflict situations have provided a laboratory for international institutions to apply a compassionate neo-liberal model of heritage as a force for reconciliation and potential economic benefit. Yet they also contain a wide range of activist and political groups with quite distinct programmes that also aim to use the past to create new futures. In addition alterations and continuities in the temporalities of labour, kinship and personal memorialisation occur along side and sometimes in spite of these explicit strategies for building a new past. This workshop will explore the interactions and conflicts between intimate, public, international and political reworkings of heritage in Bosnia, Palestine and Sierra Leone.
Edinburgh University, March 2009
This will examine how neo-liberal planning institutions and those affected by them seek to manage and reconcile their various time-practices. It will explore how conflicting projected futures impinge on each other in negotiations between neo-liberal bureaucracies and urban communities. It will address the material ways in which the sensation of the future as a reality is produced in the everyday life of bureaucracies, communities and urban landscapes. It will examine how bureaucracies try to make invisible the chaos of an uncontrollable global future and translate this into a language of risks and opportunities. It will trace to what extent this language transfers into popular movements and intimate experiences. In addition the seminar will explore forms of activism and academic engagement that could alter and offer alternatives to the plans of neo-liberalism.
LSE, May 2010
This will examine globally linked workplaces as sites where the technological, economic, social and individual management of time intersect in unpredictable and conflicting ways. In spite of claims that these workplaces are sites of timeless time where the experience of bio-social and disciplinary time is eroded this seminar will explore emerging contradictory experiences of time as part of the physical practice of labour. It will also address issues of accountability in a global network—how the distant management of work-rhythms according to the profits of international corporations affects the possibility of labour activism. In addition it will seek to trace global trends in the management of work-time associated with increasing night-time work and the informalisation of labour. More broadly, it will examine the social reach of global corporate forms of time-management into the ethics of everyday life in a range of settings.
Cambridge, January 2011
This will focus on interventions in the present that attempt to create new times different from the ethics of neo-liberalism. It will explore the various ethical time-practices associated with these social movements. It will examine the new ways they use technology and media forms to manage participation and the effects of these mediums on experiences of community and the public domain. It will trace the attempts of social movements to define the nature of the 'contemporary' differently. It will also importantly explore how participants in movements (especially those associated with patient advocacy and environmental groups) seek to mediate between time-practices associated with medical and biological sciences and the experience of individual life.
LSE, March 2011
A workshop composed of the core participants who will have attended all the seminars. At this we will build an overall theoretical perspective based on the previous two years of findings.
Laura Bear, Anthropology, LSE
Veronique Benei, Anthropology, LAIOS and LSE
Eeva Berglund, Anthropology, Environment and Planning, independent scholar
Professor Harriet Evans, Chinese Studies, University of Westminster
Professor Stephan Feuchtwang, Anthropology, LSE
Professor Olivia Harris, Anthropology, LSE
Dr Eric Hirsch, Anthropology, Brunel University
Professor Michael Lambek, Anthropology, LSE and University of Toronto
Professor Mike Rowlands, Anthropology, UCL
Dr Michael Scott, Anthropology, LSE
Matt Hodges, Anthropology, University of Kent
Beverly Butler, Museum Studies and Archaeology, UCL
Simone Abram, Anthropology, Leeds Metropolitan University
Hans Steinmuller, Anthropology, LSE.
Gisa Weszkalnys, Anthropology, Exeter University
Sharika Thiranagama, Anthropology, The New School
Nikolai Ssorin-Chaikov, Anthropology, University of Cambridge
Morten Nielsen, Anthropology, University of Aarhus
The following academics also participated in these seminars along with the research network.
Glen Bowman, University of Kent
Eyal Sivan, University of East London
Sally MacDonald, UCL
David Wengrow, UCL
Sebina Sivac-Bryant, UCL
Melanie Friend, University of Sussex
Helen Walasek, Bosnia Institute
Sultan Barakat, PRDU, York
Paul Basu, University of Sussex
Ferdinand de Jong, University of East Anglia
Casey High, Goldsmiths
Caroline Humphrey, Cambridge University
Luo Pan, Chinese University of Hong Kong
Richard Baxstrom, University of Edinburgh
Catherine Alexander, Goldsmiths
Neil David Galway, Queens University Belfast
Maxim Bolt, British Museum
Xiang Biao, University of Oxford
Mekhala Krishnamurthy, UCL.
Jamie Cross, University of Edinburgh
Ankur Dutta, LSE.
Kimberly Chong, LSE.
Olivia Swift, Goldsmiths
Penny McCall Howard, University of Aberdeen and International Transport Federation
Rebecca Prentice, University of Sussex
Andrew Sanchez, LSE.
Michael Hoffmann, LSE.
Dinah Rajak, University of Sussex
Josh Reno, Goldsmiths
Deborah James, LSE.
Sarah Franklin, LSE.
Sian Lazar, University of Cambridge
Tony Crook, St. Andrews
Sharad Chari, LSE.
David Featherstone, University of Glasgow
Nicolas Argenti, Brunel University
Georgina Born, Oxford University
Andrew Barry, Oxford University
Mathijs Pelkmans, LSE.
Lynn Bingham, Hastings Arts Forum
Rose Biela, Hastings Arts Forum
John Hacker, Hastings Arts Forum
John Plummer, Hastings Arts Forum
Annie Rae, Hastings Arts Forum
Sid Beynon, Hastings Arts Forum
Max Lovenheim Irwin, Hastings Arts Forum
Andrew Moran, Hastings Arts Forum
Mary Morris, Hastings Arts Forum
Harry Lyons, Hastings Arts Forum
Rosie O'Driscoll, Hastings Arts Forum
Sue Barnes, Hastings Arts Forum