Hartog ‘s work certainly brings valuable insights, but it
poses its share of problems too. Deborah Blocker and Elie Haddad24 criticize the vagueness of the concept of regime of historicity, as used by Hartog. According to them, it alternately refers to a community’s construction of its relationship with time, ie, the way it articulates present, past, and future; to a given society’s representation of its Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical past; and to an individual’s appropriation of collective representations of time and history available in a given society. The question is therefore how one is supposed to move between those different scales, an issue not resolved Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical by Hartog. Discussion Theories claiming that there exist fundamentally different conceptions of time among different people are simplistic, in research particular when they assign one type of time conception to a certain people and another type, or other types, to others. The circular versus linear distinction is only one instance of this tendency to create rigid Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical categories, but social science has produced a few more. Distinctions between “us” and “them” certainly say more about Western societies’ need to distance themselves from the rest of the world in order to assert their superiority than they describe undeniable ethnographic realities. Another
problem with these distinctions Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical is that they are often informed by social evolutionism, ie, by the idea that culture develops (or evolves) in a uniform and progressive manner and hence, that all societies pass through the same series of stages to arrive, ultimately, at a common end. This paradigm lingers Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical in much contemporary Western thought, but it was discredited long ago in the academic field. The questionable validity of rigid distinctions does not mean, however, that there are absolutely no variations in the way time is represented or perceived among different people or at different moments in history. There are some,
for sure. But the anthropological body of literature presented above should lead us to acknowledge that these variations are perhaps not as fundamental as some would have it. It may well be that linearity and circularity are just two fundamental aspects of the way we, as human beings, experience time, which would explain why also both can be found, albeit in varying proportions, in collective representations of time throughout the world. Similarly, theorists of the acceleration society may have a point when they claim that modern everyday life has become faster in comparison with previous eras, but their emphasis on ICTs as the main factor causing this speeding up of the tempo does not do justice to the complexity of the problem.