18 February, 13:45-15:00


The Green Room

Frida Buhre, Johan Gärdebo and Stephen Woroniecki (Linköping University).

In this seminar, we propose that some differences among advocacy groups in climate politics can be usefully understood in terms of how they express different temporalities. Not only do climate change discourses make use of deadlines, future scenarios, and trajectories, but time itself is instrumental to social organisation and to politics. For example, the linear, stop-go temporal dynamic embedded in some contemporary advocacy groups (Friday’s for future, Just Transitions) represents a continuation of a particular vision of what time is and has been (linear, progressive, or passive time of ‘history’). As George Lakoff and others have noted, the prolongation of such an idea of time runs underneath the perpetuation of a particular developmentalist, extractive and instrumental perspective of human-environment relations: “we emerge from…we move towards”. Living within a capitalist political economy may obscure how conceptions of time (including clock time) have shifted in line with the working day and week and with technological advances that enable simultaneous communication. Nevertheless it is worth noting that should societal organisation shift away from such relations of production, temporal regimes are likewise liable to change. Time, like other concepts, is molded by the world, not external to it.

How one orientates oneself in relation to such temporal relations is dependent on a form of situatedness. Many such relations correspond to particular imaginaries of time, including collective memory, visions of a good life, and anxieties about the future. These biographies, storylines or narratives interweave elements of continuity and contingency, agency and uncertainty. They do so in ways that inform political projects, and that appeal to the security of particular groups, whilst also being vulnerable to others and make them vulnerable too.

We hope you will join us in this Green Room seminar to discuss the ways that time and politics interweave and how we can approach this using the environmental humanities. In this seminar we will start with a short presentation to clarify our propositions and then we will use breakout rooms to facilitate small group discussions based on some “temporal” artifacts and the suggested texts.

Questions for discussion:

How is time represented? What do such representations enable politically?

  • Does time precede politics or is it co-constructed with politics?
    • How do terms like timescale, time limit, or trajectory affect our sense of reality?
  • Do social change and environmental change necessitate new expressions of time?
  • How might our conceptions of time appear differently in the year 2121?

Literature recommendations:

Bastian, Michelle. ”Fatally Confused: Telling the Time in the Midst of Ecological Crises”. Environmental Philosophy 9, nr 1 (2012): 23–48.

Johansen, Christina Berg (2017) Into the Wild Time: Notes from a Traveller. In book “Cultivating Creativity in Methodology and Research: In Praise of Detours” (Editors: Charlotte Wegener, Ninna Meier, Elina Maslo). Chapter: 3. Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan.

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