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Department of Social Anthropology



My work attempts to grasp a fundamental but strangely overlooked aspect for the creation of a meaningful life: the question of what people do with their time and why. The only species aware of its own finitude, humans are confronted by questions of what they are supposed to do with their days, weeks, years, and ultimately lifetimes. To begin to uncover the major forces that shape our uses of time, the sequence and moral valuation of activity (or inactivity) in society is to begin to understand fundamental coordinates and influences that shape meaningful existence. To the extent that people depend on each other for their physical and social survival, they shape and partake in each other’s time. In that sense, I understand time as primarily being about socially defined rhythms, and society as both a product and producer of history, direction, and purpose.  I explore issues of time with reference to 15 months of fieldwork in a mountainous area of rural Sichuan Province, China. 

My dissertation delineates several major ways visions and practices of intersubjectivity shape time in China:the presentism of corporeal sociality, the unilinearity of the games of face and comparison, the intermeshing of futurity and remembrance underpinning familial obligations, the rhythms of work and leisure, and the unequal valuations of the time of care and the time of money.

Research Title: The Intersubjective Foundations of Temporal Experience in China
Supervisor: Professor Uradyn Bulag
 Angel  Naydenov (2017)


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