507.2 Time capital and social gravity: Two new concepts for sociology of time

Friday, August 3, 2012: 11:05 AM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Oral Presentation
Marian PREDA , University of Bucharest, Romania

Time represents an essential topic for several sciences but it does not look to be central in contemporary sociology. Central research topics in sociology have been classical, mainstream ones, strongly related to the social problems on the public agenda.

John Urry, wrote 11 years ago that “a reconfigured sociology has to place time at its very centre.” (Urry 2000:105). Hall (2010), Bergson (1896/1996), Adam (1990, 1995, 1998) and other authors describe various time categories, such as the here-and-now present and  the chronological clocktime, or distinguish between time as a chronological, objective and physically measured entity and duration and a subjective, perceived or psychological time. 

 I propose two new concepts, time capital and social gravity that will increase significance of time in social theory and, on the other hand, will create bridges between theory in sociology and in physics.

 The structure of my theoretical research includes two main themes:

1)      Establishing the foundation of the concept of time capital through an analogy {with what} and in relationship with the concept of social capital (Bourdieu 1972, 1986; Portes 1998; Putnam 2000);

2)      The analogy between social life and the movement of lifeless bodies. The relationship between social mass and individual time capital, in other words, the way some individuals (for example, VIPs, managers, leaders) and some institutions or organizations can influence, to a very large extent, the individual time of the others.

 The main research questions are:

1. How is social influence sustained by time capital and what are the transfers in which it is involved? (Social influence can be appraised  as authority, which is the capacity of some people to orient the actions of other people.)

2.How can analogies between sociological concepts and concepts from physics be formulated in order to clarify these links between social influence/authority and time capital?