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Wild times and domesticated times: the temporalities of environmental lifestyles and politics

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date15/11/2002
JournalLandscape and Urban Planning
Number of pages11
Original languageEnglish


In this paper, I explore how environmental movements and lifestyles, like all forms of human action, produce their own characteristic kinds of time. During this exploration, I introduce a number of concepts which I suggest are useful in understanding these temporalities—chronological and kairological time; linear and cyclic time; segmentation and plot; orientation and synchronisation. Whereas the environment as described by the natural sciences is one dominated by chronological, linear time, human time is also kairological, suffused with meaning and intention. The varieties of human action also produce their own distinctive temporalities—some linear, some cyclic, some oriented to external goals, some self-sufficient. The logic of kairological time also requires that we understand individual events and actions as ‘figures’ against a temporal ‘ground’—one that is characteristically organised into an overarching narrative, or broken up into distinctive time segments. Furthermore, human experience is not just situated in time, but orients itself within time—it faces ‘backwards’ into the past, ‘forwards’ into the future, or commits itself to the present. Finally, lived time is also sometimes synchronised with other times—with that of proximate or distant others, or with historical narratives of progress or decline.