The world is getting faster. This sentiment is proclaimed so often that it is taken for granted, rarely questioned or examined by those who celebrate the notion of an accelerated culture or by those who decry it. Sarah Sharma, in her new book In the Meantime: Temporality and Cultural Politics, engages with that assumption in this sophisticated critical inquiry into the temporalities of everyday life. Sharma conducted ethnographic research among individuals whose jobs or avocations involve a persistent focus on time: taxi drivers, frequent-flyer business travelers, corporate yoga instructors, devotees of the slow-food and slow-living movements. Based on that research, she develops the concept of "power-chronography" to make visible the entangled and uneven politics of temporality. Focusing on how people's different relationships to labor configures their experience of time, she argues that both "speed-up" and "slow-down" often function as a form of biopolitical social control necessary to contemporary global capitalism. Sharma is a professor of media and cultural studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Hear Sarah talk about In the Meantime on The State of Things on WUNC: http://wunc.org/post/do-taxi-drivers-experience-time-differently-business-travelers-or-yoga-instructors.