Ordinary Lives: Doing Time, Work Life Ben Highmore
Key words Intensity, everyday time, housework, experiential time, gendering of time, large scale time, rationalisation of time.
Highmore is interested in: - The range of affective energies that circulate around domestic work within cultural context where the predominant experience of it is negative. - Contradictory feelings coexist, and in the way that emotions affect our experiences of time in ways that conflict with rationalistic measurements of time. *** Time is gendered in everyday life. So is the work life. Experiential time does not follow the standardized time. Emotions affect our experience of time.
Worker at Ford <ul><li>Preparation of lunchtime: </li></ul><ul><li>- Orders have to be taken quickly </li></ul><ul><li>- Tables have to be turned round </li></ul><ul><li>Speeding up at first orders </li></ul><ul><li>Slowing down with the last ones </li></ul><ul><li>** Emotional work: </li></ul><ul><li>Constant smiling of the workers, </li></ul><ul><li>Customers positive energy, </li></ul><ul><li>Orders not confused </li></ul>Energy and rhythm of emotional work allows the shift flow
Sense of time: Experiential time does not follow the standardized time. Moods and passions affect our experience of time. (excitement, happiness, fear, boredom etc: each feeling has the sense of fast or slow time.)
Public time Intimate time Division in time Time of clocks 9-6 Shifts National holidays Time of the body: hunger, stream of consciousness In work life we experience the conflict between these times.
The work life is gendered : - Image of female work force in the 20th century is dominated by the image of secretary and typing pool . -Another work that female image is associated with is housework .
Housework: <ul><li>-Vague </li></ul><ul><li>Has no specific practices </li></ul><ul><li>Endless </li></ul><ul><li>When does it start and end? </li></ul><ul><li>Essential </li></ul><ul><li>Quickly needed again </li></ul><ul><li>Requires constant preparation and working </li></ul><ul><li>* Women’s job </li></ul>
Housework “The battle against dust and dirt is never won. All this halting of decay is also the denial of life: for time simultaneously creates and destroys, and only its negative aspect concerns the housekeeper.” (de Beauvoir 1997 : 470
Mass Observation: - Mass-Observation was a United Kingdom social research organization founded in 1937. Their work ended in the mid 1960s but was revived in 1981. - It aimed to record everyday life in Britain through a panel of around 500 untrained volunteer observers who either maintained diaries or replied to open-ended questionnaires.
Division of time Everyday-time Life-time Large-scale time <ul><li>-Time phenomenally </li></ul><ul><li>experienced </li></ul><ul><li>-Daydreams </li></ul><ul><li>Punctuality </li></ul><ul><li>(or lack of it) </li></ul><ul><li>-Eating, defecating, </li></ul><ul><li>Sleeping etc. </li></ul><ul><li>-Radio alarm clocks </li></ul>-Time shaped into intimate narrative forms -Connects random segments of daily experience -Creation of oneself as an autobiographical subject *Linear progressive narrative -Allow us to talk about shared pasts and collective futures and to fashion larger narratives around group identities like religion, ethnicity or nation. The clashes of these 3 levels, connecting and disconnecting with each other is a way to view the relationship between emotions and experiential time.
Emotions shape time The diarist is someone self identifying as a feminist who is constantly aware of the patriarchal distribution of domestics tasks, but who also recognizes the difficulty and emotional price of living “the feminist life” within the institution of the family. “ In a very practical sense guilt and anger can be seen as emotional work that takes up time. So here, even though the diarist is not doing something, she is temporally involved in this activity through the feelings of guilt and anger that it produces.”
Rationalization of Housework (Stopwatch) -Timing housework with a stopwatch invokes the scientific management of the domestic sphere which was a central element of the rationalization of home. - Freeing up the sort of spare time that men enjoyed, to provide opportunities for leisure . -Rationalization becomes an effective way of lessening the amount of work being done (emotionally and physically), but comes with its own physical price.
Result of rationalizing time: -The diarist recognized that being Mother and Housewife are not unproductive. -Started approaching routine tasks with slightly different attitude. - -Instead of complaining, she tries to finish her tasks as soon as possible to fit in other jobs she enjoys more.
Typewriter example: There is no information being connected between 2 keypunchers, only the basic connection that is being made through the rhythms of keypunching . They keep a certain rhythm and slow down if the other slows down. They perform some sort of a musical commentary with the synchronization of the sounds. “ If you can get into the rhythm the time passes.”
-The charms, possibilities and problems of habit are at the heart of ordinary life’s complex orchestration . -It is the accommodation of the human sensorium to the rhythms of external life . -The connection and contradiction of experiential time with the everyday life composes a rhythm , not a regular beat of a humdrum but the complex set of time strengthened with emotion.