(un)common ground

a commonplace book

Clocks Materialize the Work Ethic

[C]locks restructured work habits by materializing the ethic of time thrift, setting a clear demarcation between ‘work’ and ‘life’ and reminding workers of their tasks. … The clock’s ubiquity legitimized time discipline and naturalized it, making it banal and commonsensical.

Eman Shahata, “The Clock Inside Us,” The New Inquiry, Dec. 14, 2015

I appreciate the idea that the clock materializes the ethic of time thrift. In some way, it’s as if the clock renders all time as work-worthy; the clock haunts leisure time like Joanna Walsh’s idea of the ghost, erasing the present by repeating (or in this case invoking) the actions of the past (work). We therefore regulate our non-work time and feel guilt or even receive (or self-inflict) censure for not using all time with the same attention we pay to our work time.


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This entry was posted on January 17, 2016 by and tagged , , , .
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