Social theorists writing about time generally agree that in the hands of humans this single linear, objective, natural physical dimension is transformed into multiple structured sociocultural dimensions. “Social” time is overlaid with meaning and value, and the linearity of physical time is reshaped by convention into all manner of “unnatural” forms. Beyond the agreement that social must be distinguished from natural time, however, there is a great deal of diversity in how social theorists see time and temporality and their relevance to understanding the social.

Social theory's questions begin by asking whether there is a “social” time distinct from both natural-cosmological time and personal-subjective time. How are social processes conditioned by their temporality? How is social reality constituted in and across time? Are there multiple social ...

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