Temporality

The Oxford English Dictionary’s entry on “temporality” is a bit tentative: “the state of existing with or having some relationship to time.” This relationship to time is a site of deep hypothetical investigation across almost every academic discipline: what is time and how does one experience it? Lurking behind most theorizations one will find references to clocks, clock towers, watches, telegraphs, train schedules, punch cards, stopwatches, airplanes, computers, networks, and fiber optic cables. These are power machines (Mumford 1963)—objects that impose new orders of time on the social field and recalibrate all of life to the dictates of their intrinsic tempos. It is  important to note that these power machines are in fact media. But missing in most accounts of temporality is precisely that which makes temporality critical to media studies—the relationship between media and lived time. Appealing to a grand order of time, whether it is clock …

This essay may be found on page 194 of the printed volume.

Works Cited
Permanent Link to this Essay