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Time's Social Discourses

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This essay adresses the analysis of social discourses on time, i.e., the ways social agents suppose time is. Using the data furnished by a sociological research made in Spain on the meaning of working time and its compatibility with personal and family life, I propose to focus on some important and recurrent ambivalences and images of time in social life. Time shows itself as ambivalent because it both unifies and separates two different orders of experience. The paper analyses three ambivalences: to be time and to be in time; temporal presence and absence; temporal repetition and innovation. Time also shows itself in images. Three are specially widespread: the image of time as a resource to be used in action; the image of time as an environment we must adapt to; the image of time as a horizon where we can contemplate in the present what is past and what has nos yet occurred.


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