Time Blind pp 117-140 | Cite as

Chapter 6 Thinking Through Homochronic Hegemony Ethnographically

  • Kevin K. Birth


In one of the most quoted observations in the study of time, Augustine wrote, “What is time then? If nobody asks me, I know: but if I were desirous to explain it to one that should ask me, plainly I know not” (1997, Book 11, Chapter 14). Alluding to this statement, Paul Valéry observed, “Qu’est-ce que le Temps? —C’est un mot” [What is Time? It is a word] (1973, 1334, emphasis in original). The English word time is polysemic. It connotes moments, sequences, epochs, events, meter, rhythm, and simultaneity, pace, and the relationship of the present to the past and the future. As a result, when time is discussed, it is not always clear what is meant. For instance, there have been several works that deal with the temporality of the future (Guyer 2007; Lakoff 2008; Luhmann 1998; Miyazaki 2006; Robbins 2007), but for the most part they analyze the relationship of the future to the present, not the cultural ideas of sequence, epoch, and kairos that structure how the future is represented.


Temporal Frame Temporal Framework European Philosophy Cultural Idea Cultural Variability 
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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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