On Time – going forward, going backwards and going around and around – from postmodern to mostmodern times

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Kane, Michael
Issue Date
Dublin Business School
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One of the most characteristic characteristics of postmodern times, according to Fredric Jameson, was to do with time – the “waning”, as he puts it, of “the great high-modernist thematics of time and temporality, the elegiac mysteries of durée and memory”. It is, as he says, “at least empirically arguable that our daily life, our psychic experience, our cultural languages, are today dominated by categories of space, rather than by categories of time […].” This is a problem, for Jameson, as it has to do with a ‘postmodern’ ‘waning’ of a sense of history, and of an ability to see (and begin to interpret) the present as part of a wider historical context. Yet this shift from time to space was already happening in ‘high modern times’ - around the beginning of the twentieth century; it was perhaps one of the most characteristic characteristics of modern times. That is why, one may suppose, precisely such “thematics of time and temporality” were coming to the fore. The very notion of the modern itself implies a revolutionary shift in the sense of time and certain changes affecting space around 1900 already then were having a huge effect on the sense of time.