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Open Access Publications from the University of California

About time : schedules & sociotemporality


The temporal dimension is an often overlooked aspect of human interaction. The treatment and valuation of our own time and others' time is dependent on the social context. The representation of time and time intervals are socially constructed concepts, strongly influencing our behavior. Time's technologies—clocks and calendrical systems—arose from social requirements; they in turn enforce social function. In particular, the institution of the schedule—made possible by the ubiquity of clocks and calendars—has been called a "cornerstone of social life" (Zerubavel, 1981). This paper examines the sociotemporal order in the context of public and personal schedules, with an emphasis on time and human interaction in the workplace. Sociotemporal theory is used to explore what role an emerging time-management technology will have in the workplace: networked, on-line scheduling software.

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