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From the moment it began to engage with time in a considered way, human geography has employed a variety of analytical and conceptual approaches to it. Recent work especially has greatly extended the range of these different approaches by stressing the innate variability of time, leading some to talk of ‘multiple temporalities’ and to pronounce time as ‘uneven’ even within the same society. Fractured by such differences over how time may be used and interpreted, the possibility of an overarching concept of time in human geography has long gone. However, this does not prevent us from asking whether it is still possible to produce a coherent review of the differences involved. This paper offers such a review, arguing that setting these differences down within a structured framework can provide a clearer sense of how diverse the debate among human geographers has become and the trends of thought that have underpinned this growing diversity. Among the trends identified, it places particular stress on the shift from objectified interpretations to those dealing with relational forms of lived and experiential time and on how the separation of early discussions of space from those on time, their dimensional stand-off from each other, has slowly given way to a view in which space and time are treated as sticky concepts that are difficult to separate from each other.

Keywords: concepts of time; disjunctures; experiential; flow; rationalized time; tenseness; the present; time; time-geography; time-space

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0467.2008.00272.x

Affiliations: Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences, University of Wales, Aberystwyth, Llandinam Building, Penglais Campus, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion SY23 3DB, Wales, UK., Email: rad@aber.ac.uk

Publication date: March 1, 2008

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