Time Blind pp 93-116 | Cite as

Chapter 5 Tensions of the Times: Homochronism versus Narratives of Postcolonialism

  • Kevin K. Birth


Édouard Glissant writes, “To confront time is … for us to deny its linear structure” (1989, 145). In Euro-modernity, a linear concept of time that employs the metaphor of time units as containers to be filled is a critical component of planning and how the future is imagined. In contrast, utopian thinking utilizes several different temporalities. In her discussion of utopia, Levitas (2013) points out the contrast between those who see utopia as a goal versus those who see utopia as a method. The dominant temporality for the former is to see utopia as timeless and temporally disconnected from the present. The dominant temporality of utopia as method is to emphasize change and transformation of present conditions by means of using the imagining of utopia to critique the present. The three models of linearly arranged containers versus timeless separation versus kairotic change are, in fact, three alternatives for the temporal organization of conceptualizing the future. Just as with the past, there is a tension between thinking that emphasizes chronology and thinking that emphasizes values.


Distant Future Longe Daily Abandoned Land Temporal Frame Empty Time 
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© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kevin K. Birth
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyQueen’s College, CUNYFlushingUSA

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