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Time's Social Metaphors

[journal article]

Torre, Ramón Ramos

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Abstract The article addresses the analysis of time images furnished by a qualitative research made in Spain on the relations of working time and family/personal time. The analysis focuses on three widespread time metaphors used in day-to-day speeches by social agents. The first one is the metaphor of time as resource for action. Its value is equally economical, moral and political. Used in different context of action, it may mean something that can be either invested, donated generously to others, appropriated for caring for oneself, or spent without purpose with others. The second metaphor represents time as an external environment to which action must adapt. This metaphor shows many variants that represent time as a dynamic/static, repetitive/innovative, ordered/chaotic environment. In this external environment, the agents must resolve the problems of temporal embeddedness, hierarchy and synchronization of their actions. The third metaphor shows time as a horizon of action intentionality where the agents try to construct the meaning of their action and identity. Within this horizon the construction of a significant narrative connecting past and present experiences with future expectations is possible.
Classification Sociology
Free Keywords plurality of time; social metaphors; time metaphors; time narratives;
Document language English
Publication Year 2007
Page/Pages p. 157-187
Journal Time & Society, 16 (2007) 2-3
Status Postprint; peer reviewed
Licence PEER Licence Agreement (applicable only to documents from PEER project)