What is family time and what value do we place on it? How many families today have time to be families? How do families view, use, and seek to control time, and how successful are they at it? Caught between a public world speeding along on information superhighways and their own private desire to preserve the family as a rest stop, family members look for new and efficient ways to protect, control, and manage their time. The concept of time is central to the study of families and is used in several different ways: families have changed through history, families experience the passage of time as they age over the life course, and families negotiate time for being together. Families & Time is the first to synthesize these differing concepts of time into a broad theory of how families understand time. In this important volume, Kerry J. Daly examines time as a pervasive influence in the changing experimental world of families. The book opens with a discussion of the various ways time can be conceptualized, in general, followed by an examination of how families have experienced time throughout history. Subsequent chapters examine the social construction of time in families; as well as such specific topics as time and technology in the home; controlling time; and the societal, gender, and intergenerational politics of family time. Though at its heart a theoretical book, Families & Time consciously focuses on the practical aspects of this theory in understanding the power in the family, the family life cycle, and work/family conflicts. Scholars interested in the development of theory of the family, examining gender and work issues, and exploring various perspectives on time will find this book indispensable. “In this compelling portrayal of the patterns and politics of family time, author Kerry J. Daly has produced a masterpiece. Destined to become a classic, Families & Time will alert scholars across disciplines to the breadth and depth of interdisciplinary family studies. Accessible to everyone, Families & Time can be read for knowledge and pleasure, as a new contribution to family theory construction, a mediation on the pervasiveness and value of time in family experience, and a wellspring of creative ideas for families who want to gain control over their perceived loss of time in an accelerated society. Scrupulously documented in a writing style that combines metaphor, narrative, and empirical findings, Daly succeeds in offering a new consciousness and theory of family time. I will read and recommend this book to others over and over again.” --Katherine R. Allen, Ph.D., Family and Child Development, Virginia Tech
Chapter 3: The Social Construction of Time in Families
The Social Construction of Time in Families
A social constructionist perspective on time begins with the notion that our understanding of time is shaped by our cultural experience of time. In other words, time can be understood by examining the way that people experience the passage of time through their social and organizational behavior. What are the ways that they experience events and actions through time? What are the definitions that they bring to the passage of events and the relationships between changing events? What are the images and metaphors that they use to conceptualize time? A social constructionist position on time embraces the idea that time is “neither objectively given as ‘real’ time nor subjectively inaccessible to others ...