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Fuzzy Holes and Intangible Time

[journal article]

O'Carroll, Aileen

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Abstract The knowledge economy is characterized by highly skilled, highly educated employees whose work is centred on the manipulation of information. This article looks at the work process of workers in the software sector, as their work is both central to the knowledge economy and shares many of the characteristics of other knowledge workers. It describes the temporal frameworks found, grounding them in the work process. It documents specific characteristics of work and work organization that give rise to a time experienced as both intangible and fuzzy. It argues that there is a deep irony at the centre of the knowledge economy. On one hand, speed is the key metaphor of the knowledge economy. Yet the use of metaphors of speed and efficiency bypass any appreciation of the qualitative nature of time found within these work processes. Knowledge production is based on creativity, communication and knowledge development, processes that move at their own pace. These processes sit uncomfortably within temporal frameworks, which are based on a predictable and quantifiable time.
Free Keywords information technology; knowledge; working time;
Document language English
Publication Year 2008
Page/Pages p. 179-193
Journal Time & Society, 17 (2008) 2-3
Status Postprint; peer reviewed
Licence PEER Licence Agreement (applicable only to documents from PEER project)