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Whose time is it? Rancière on taking time, unproductive doing and democratic emancipation


Räber, Michael (2023). Whose time is it? Rancière on taking time, unproductive doing and democratic emancipation. Philosophy and Social Criticism:Epub ahead of print.

Abstract

This essay argues that an alternative conception of time to that underlying the ideology of productivism and growth is not only possible, but desirable. The creation of this time requires what I refer to as the practice of refusal via taking time: the self-determined arrangement of the nexus of time, action and utility that begins with the a-synchronous insertion of unproductive time into the synchronous horizontal time of productivism. The essay is divided into three sections. The first offers the reader a discussion of Jacques Rancière’s notion of time as a social and political medium that partitions and distributes actions and utility. The subsequent section of the essay elaborates in aesthetic terms an account of unproductive time that is indifferent to the time of productivism. In the final section, I discuss examples that show how taking time to do ‘nothing’ can elicit an emancipatory politics that seeks to liberate us from the hegemony of productivism. I conclude that political theory should attend to time as a political medium and to the possibilities of its occupation, and that picturing the taking of time in terms of stopping the force of productivism’s normalized horizontal time by entering the unproductive time of reverie and aesthetic experience, provides a promising perspective from which to apprehend a time for thriftless refusals, deliberate dis-identifications, and the forging of cooperation among people(s) and with nature.

Abstract

This essay argues that an alternative conception of time to that underlying the ideology of productivism and growth is not only possible, but desirable. The creation of this time requires what I refer to as the practice of refusal via taking time: the self-determined arrangement of the nexus of time, action and utility that begins with the a-synchronous insertion of unproductive time into the synchronous horizontal time of productivism. The essay is divided into three sections. The first offers the reader a discussion of Jacques Rancière’s notion of time as a social and political medium that partitions and distributes actions and utility. The subsequent section of the essay elaborates in aesthetic terms an account of unproductive time that is indifferent to the time of productivism. In the final section, I discuss examples that show how taking time to do ‘nothing’ can elicit an emancipatory politics that seeks to liberate us from the hegemony of productivism. I conclude that political theory should attend to time as a political medium and to the possibilities of its occupation, and that picturing the taking of time in terms of stopping the force of productivism’s normalized horizontal time by entering the unproductive time of reverie and aesthetic experience, provides a promising perspective from which to apprehend a time for thriftless refusals, deliberate dis-identifications, and the forging of cooperation among people(s) and with nature.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:01 Faculty of Theology and the Study of Religion > Center for Ethics
06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Philosophy
Dewey Decimal Classification:100 Philosophy
Uncontrolled Keywords:Sociology and Political Science, Philosophy
Language:English
Date:13 January 2023
Deposited On:16 Jan 2023 10:43
Last Modified:11 Apr 2024 07:16
Publisher:Sage Publications
ISSN:0191-4537
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1177/01914537221150457
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)