, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 111-113
Date: 27 Apr 2011

Michael G. Flaherty: The Textures of Time: Agency and Temporal Experience

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There is public time with its calendars, clocks, and plane schedules. Then there is my own time, time as it is actually lived, how it is thought, seen, remembered, and felt. Most social historians deal with time in the former sense, viewing it (say, like Mircea Eliade) as a never-ending cycle of the same thing over and over again. Others see it as a linear continuum composed of once only intervals of equal length—days, hours, seconds, etc.—having a specific starting point in the past and an end at some date in the future. In both of these cases, time is pictured as something “out there” independent of us: coercive, unchanging, and universal. Flaherty takes issue with this viewpoint, saying that “nothing could be further from the truth” (11). For Flaherty, the “textures of time” are best understood as residing “in here,” so to say, as a pivotal component of ordinary consciousness.

Flaherty asks two questions about lived-time: First, what are its prototypical experiential qualities? And s