CLAUDE LÉVI-STRAUSS ON THE PROBLEM OF “SYNCHRONIC” TIME

Cover Page

Abstract


Human society exists in two temporal measurements. Astronomical time is uniform, homogenous, quantitative and continuous. Social time cannot be described in the same way for there are days for special functions, periods of time with specific features due to the activities, meanings and associations with them, and critical dates breaking the continuity of time. Social time has a qualitative character, a nonuniform flow - it can slow down, speed up and even stop, and it cannot be arbitrarily divided into parts. The concept of social time suggests that time is a human creation, social life produces different temporal structures of social phenomena together with the tools and units to measure time. Despite the duration and thematic richness, the debates on social time unfairly ignore C. Levi-Strauss’s theory of synchronic time. The article considers its prerequisites, criticism and main ideas, in particular, the famous typology of “hot” and “cold” societies distinguished by the criterion of time as manifested differently in different types of social systems and having different meanings. Societies with the same perception of historical time as our society today, i.e. considering time as a huge folder where historical events are systematized not to be forgotten, are called hot (and emphasize one’s historicity). Cold societies’ basic cognitive systems try to be static and indifferent to changes, i.e. strive to ignore historicity and externalize it as alien to them. The author emphasizes that when speaking of cold societies as not taking time and historicity into account Levi-Strauss does not want to rewrite the laws of logic or physics and just attempts to see the world through the eyes of another culture.


About the authors

J Šubrt

Charles University in Prague

Author for correspondence.
Email: jiri.subrt@ff.cuni.cz
U Kříže, 8, 15800 Praha 5, Czech Republic

-

References

  1. Abbott A. Time Matters: On theory and method. Chicago: University of Chicago Press; 2001.
  2. Adam B. Time and Social Theory. Cambridge: Polity Press; 1990.
  3. Adam B. Timewatch: The Social Analysis of Time. Cambridge: Polity Press; 1995.
  4. Alexander J.C. Sociological Theory Since 1945. London: Hutchinson; 1987.
  5. Aristotelés. Poetika. Praha: Orbis; 1962.
  6. Baert P. Time, Self and Social Being: Temporality within a Social Context. Avebury: Aldershot; 1992.
  7. Devereux G. Social time: A methodological and functional analysis. American Journal of Sociology. 1938; 6: 967-968.
  8. Durkheim E. Elementární formy náboženského života. Praha: Oikúmené; 2002.
  9. Dux G. Die Zeit in der Geschichte: Ihre Entwicklungslogik vom Mythos zur Weltzeit. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp; 1989.
  10. Elias N. Über die Zeit. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp; 1988.
  11. Evans-Pritchard E. The Nuer. Oxford: Clarendon; 1940.
  12. Gell A. The Anthropology of Time: Cultural Constructions of Temporal Maps and Images. Oxford - Providence: Berg; 1992.
  13. Giddens A. New Rules of Sociological Method. London: Hutchinson; 1976.
  14. Giddens A. Central Problems in Social Theory: Action, Structure and Contradiction in Social Analysis. Berkeley - Los Angeles: University of California Press; 1979.
  15. Giddens A. Time and space in social theory. J. Matthes (Ed.). Lebenswelt und soziale Probleme. Frankfurt/Main: Campus; 1981. Pp. 88-97.
  16. Giddens A. Die Konstitution der Gesellschaft. Grundzüge einer Theorie der Strukturierung. Frankfurt/Main - New York: Campus; 1988.
  17. Hawking S.W. Stručná historie času. Praha: Mladá fronta; 1991.
  18. Kant I. Kritika čistého rozumu. Praha: Oikúmené; 2001.
  19. Lauer R.H. Temporal Man: The Meaning and Uses of Social Time. New York: Praeger; 1981.
  20. Lévi-Strauss C. Smutné tropy. Praha: Odeon; 1966.
  21. Lévi-Strauss C. Myšlení přírodních národů. Praha: Československý spisovatel; 1971.
  22. Lévi-Strauss C. Anthropologie structurale deux. Paris: Plon; 1973.
  23. Lévi-Strauss C. Mýtus a význam. Bratislava: Archa; 1993.
  24. Nassehi A. Die Zeit der Gesellschaft: Auf dem Weg zu einer soziologischen Theorie der Zeit. Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag; 1993.
  25. Rifkin J. Time Wars: The Primary Conflict in Human History. New York: Henry Holt and Company; 1987.
  26. Sorokin P.A. Sociocultural Causality, Space, Time: A Study of Referential Principles of Sociology and Social Science. New York: Russell-Russell INC; 1964.
  27. Sorokin P.A., Merton R.K. Social time: A methodological and functional analysis. American Journal of Sociology. 1937: 42(5): 615-629.
  28. Sue R. Temps et ordre social: Sociologie des temps sociaux. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France; 1994.
  29. Young M. The Metronomic Society: Natural Rhythms and Human Timetables. Cambridge - Massachusetts. Harvard University Press; 1988.

Statistics

Views

Abstract - 520

PDF (Russian) - 232

Cited-By


PlumX

Dimensions


Copyright (c) 2018 Šubrt J.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

This website uses cookies

You consent to our cookies if you continue to use our website.

About Cookies