Just in Time
The introductory citation from Derrida hints to a break with a common sense understanding of “just-in time”. The understanding of time as pre-given and independently running without any reference to the social spheres of society is to be left behind in order to grasp how time works in social relations and in organisations. In the paper will be discussed how time appears in three different modalities in modern care institutions. With empirical data from Danish residential homes, it is analyzed how time follows either scheduled routines, appears as outcome from situational interactions or thirdly appears in a disturbed presence, where the timely readiness towards sudden needs are handled by alarm technologies. The paper show, how the three types of technologies change the care giving processes, the structures of decision making and the roles of the care givers and -takers. The approach used in the analysis of data is inspired by the German system theorist Niklas Luhmann. His work follows from a phenomenological understanding where time is a meaning category in the social among two others (social and fact dimension). Here the meaning horizon of time is closely linked to the fact that time is a scarce ressource, which is also the case in welfare mediated care for elderly people in Denmark.
The paper is analysing qualitative data from a specific welfare organizational setting but also with an ambition of pointing towars more theoretical and perhaps generalizable implications of time and technologies used in service provision, social care and nursing.