Time as the Fourth Dimension in the Globalization of Higher Education

Added: 2020-12-14 | Updated: 2020-12-14
Categories πŸ“š: Temporality
Type πŸ“: Article

Note πŸ“

(this is at its core about academic capitalism, but I was more interested in the background on time and stuff

shifts in understandings of time

pre-modern age: long-term evolutionary relationship between humanity and nature. Cyclical, "glacial" understanding of time. A "timeless time" of generational, not annual, cultural shifts.

Under capitalism, time became commodified and considered a resource; like money, we say that time can be wasted, saved, or spent.
clock-time (modern time)
closely linked with Protestant/Puritan morality and the ruthless quest for efficiency that characterizes capitalism... But once it hit 5, you're off the clock!

global time (postmodern time)
characterized by time-space compression; you are no longer entirely on your own time, as tasks may depend on the activities of someone halfway round the world β€” tasks whose results impact you instantly, from financial transactions to file uploads. efficiency and morality aspects of modern time not only remain, but are intensified, as new technologies make it so much easier to save time.

factors in the shift toward global time

  • rapid communication (phones -> computers, all becoming much more powerful and portable all the time)
  • rapidly growing knowledge economy (whole sectors of the economy devoted to producing new knowledge, not physical goods) led to complex/quickly-moving economy
  • shrinking duration of tasks
    • harder to compartmentalize work/leisure/etc time (fluid time)
    • living in a World Risk Society (there's always some huge crisis looming [and 2020 has seen them all...]) + whole industries built around saving, beating, controlling time = time scarcity and a sense of time urgency

an analogy: Newtonian vs Einsteinian physics

The Newtonian theory of time is evident in Fordist production under old-capitalism. Time is easily measured in 60-minute increments, and it is viewed as progressing along in a linear fashion. ... he job that one performs under "new" capitalism is affected by the time jobs take in other companies across the world. Time is no longer measured as separate to the time other activities take but is quite literally relative to the time taken elsewhere.
Newtonian physics deems time and space separate. Time moves steadily and linearly from past to future. Einsteinian physics sees space and time as inextricable constructs, neither of which is always linear. Time slows down for astronauts leaving orbit, space doesn't seem to matter to quantum particles, both time and space get all screwy around black holes. And we're all screwy under global capitalism 😎

Judith Walker. β€œTime as the Fourth Dimension in the Globalization of Higher Education.” The Journal of Higher Education 80, no. 5 (2009): 483–509. https://doi.org/10.1353/jhe.0.0061. (Read)

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