In The Meantime

Women’s time, Office Worker’s time, Taxi driver’s time… Time is already unequal

Publication Info.

  • AuthorSarah Sharma
  • TranslatorYoungsuk Choi
  • PublisherLP Publication (Seoul, South Korea)
  • Released2022.2.28

Life Management Politics Time Economy or Time Politics in Our Time

A time politics study that develops the concept of temporality as an ultimate political relationship or a lens to capture unequal social experiences. Women’s time, office worker’s time, delivery man’s time… Naturally, we connect and accept the relationship between a specific identity and time. However recognising the relationship between an individual and time as a form of structural difference rejects the view of reducing the difference and inequality to separate identity categories such as race, class, gender, sex, and ability. Temporality is already unequal. There is a risk of depoliticisation when time is treated uniformly with certain functions or attributes. Placing the people in and out of time is a form of social control that maintains the time order of white people, capitalism, patriarchy, and colonialism. If you treat time as an appendix to people, objects, media, and historical periods, you can not face the complexity behind the time order. As this book argues, temporality is not a general sense of a certain historical period, but an exceptional time experience structured in a specific political and economic context.

Work-Life Balance, Slowness … Arrival of New Inequalities

“When I wrote In the Meantime I was concerned with the popular and scholarly fixation on speed culture and the acceleration of time. The popular critique of this concomitant mix of fast capitalism and digital speed upon democratic life did not seem to account for the deeper structural politics of time that pervade the very spaces of democratic civic life in question – whether the agora, amusement park, or airport. And yet, the social fabric is composed of multiple but also differential and relational temporalities and forms of labour all bound to one another. I argued it was not speed-up but rather the explanatory power of speed that was increasingly responsible for the production of new social inequities experienced at the level of time. Speed was not a uniform cultural fact but rather a tempo, a dominant pace, composed of multiple and relational temporalities both fast and slow. My point was that what most populations encounter is not a shared experience of time but rather a looming temporal order.”

Resist order, exist outside, struggle, merrily escape for Time Recovery

The task of critical temporality study is not to focus on the same time changes everywhere, but to discover and check new chronometers of social control. It examines how various power structures such as ideology, technology, and political systems work as chronometers that show people the way of life. We should focus on patriarchy’s time logic, which undermines and admires social reproduction labour, but not the time of essential and biological women. The recovery of time is to resist the order of the capitalist power system that emphasised heterosexuality, white-centredness, and productivity. Time recovery is not to turn back time, but to find a way to exist outside the dominant time order. Time recovery is not about creating a new time order or finding a new universal time system – it is to keep checking the chronometers of social control, exploring why they work well, and finding ways to struggle against them or merrily avoid.