The dual classification of cultural systems of time as Western or non‐Western is an oversimplification that limits our understanding of how time is created, represented, measured, and practiced in different cultures. The premises underlying dualistic thinking about time reveal its limitations.
First, dualistic thinking adopts the premise that Western time is linear (irreversible), abstract, quantitative, and homogeneous. In contrast, non‐Western time is cyclical (reversible), concrete, qualitative, and heterogeneous. There is a tendency to draw too sharp distinctions based on characteristics presumed to be in opposition. Underlying these are further distinctions between them (Oriental, primitive, oral, preindustrial) and us(Occidental, modern, literate, industrial). Embedded in these implicit distinctions is the assumption that non‐Western time is to be thought about within a conceptual frame that implicitly adopts Western time as a standard for perception and evaluation of...
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