Frith, Judy (2009)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
This thesis argues that people create their own ‘temporal collages’ in order to balance competing and conflicting demands for time. It uses British Quakers as a case study. From the mid-twentieth century to 2008 the nature of work and family life have changed considerably, and this thesis shows how British Quakers balance those worldly changes in order to remain faithful and involved with the Religious Society of Friends. The Society is in numerical decline, has no paid clergy and relies heavily on time given voluntarily as service. Democratised relationships enable commitment in friendship networks, and the research demonstrates how social capital is built in the much-valued Quaker communities to which Friends belong. The thesis also reveals how Friends choose those communities, and describes what they want from involvement and what they gain. Throughout the thesis, time is considered to be polychronic in order to accommodate the varied qualities given in Friends’ descriptions about time. Polychronic time is heterogeneous and includes the paradoxes, cycles, juxtapositions, interconnections and linear time (that of clocks and calendars). These diverse elements of time are drawn upon to build individualised and flexible constructs with priorities that vary from person to person and are adjusted throughout a lifetime according to circumstance and choice. The result is a temporal collage, a descriptive tool for the way in which individuals compile choices about time.
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