Towards a culture of non-simultaneity?
There are three different concepts and analytical aspects of social time in contemporary western societies that are referred to in this article: (1) the different tempos of social processes and (2) the varying time horizons of ‘socially expected durations’ (Merton, 1986). It is argued that due to spatial, technological and socio-economic changes a third, more fundamental evolution of temporality is emerging: (3) an increasing simultaneity of events in our ‘world at reach’ (Schutz and Luckmann, 1983). The different tempos and time-scopes being causes and effects of this phenomenal simultaneity. An increase in simultaneity necessarily provokes an increase in non-simultaneity. ‘Classical’ mechanisms of temporal ordering of non-simultaneous events are sequencing and linear processing. It is claimed, that these mechanisms, typical of industrial modernity, are complemented by efforts and exigencies of coping with complexity in a simultaneous mode. It is assumed that the abilities of actors and social systems of parallel and simultaneous processing are enhanced but after all remain limited. Therefore, a growing realm of non-simultaneity remains open to meaningful interpretation. This is what significance an emerging culture of nonsimultaneity has. KEY WORDS • non-simultaneity • short-termism • social time • synchronization • tempo
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