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MATTER(S) OF INTEREST: ARTEFACTS, SPACING AND TIMING

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Abstract:

ABSTRACT.

This paper argues that time-geography can make a contribution to contemporary ‘rematerialized’ geographies, because the interconnections among social processes, human corporeality and inanimate material artefacts within the landscape were among H├Ągerstrand's central concerns. Time-geography needs none the less to be extended in several ways to make it more reconcilable with current thinking about materiality in geography. The possibility of combining H├Ągerstrand's framework with notions from (post) actor-network approaches is therefore explored. It is suggested that concepts and notions from the latter may contribute to the advancement of the conceptualization of action at a distance and agency in general in time-geography, as well as the incorporation of the immaterial realm into space—time diagrams. The resulting materially heterogeneous time-geography is a framework for studying the spacing and timing of different material entities that is sensitive to the role of artefacts and their local connectedness with other material forms. Some of its elements are illustrated briefly through an empirical study of the roles played by a few mundane artefacts in working parents ‘coping with child-care responsibilities on working days. The case study suggest that these artefacts not only enable goal fulfilment and routinization but also result in further spacing and timing practices, and can introduce uncertainty and novelty to existing orders.

Keywords: Netherlands; actor-network theory; time-geography; work and caring responsibilities

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0467.2007.00236.x

Affiliations: Department of Human Geography and Planning Faculty of Geosciences Utrecht University P.O. Box80.115 3508 TC Utrecht The Netherlands, Email: t.schwanen@geo.uu.nl

Publication date: March 1, 2007

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