Time-space and ethics work

frizzflowerUrban and Civil

Nov 29, 2013 (3 years and 11 months ago)

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Time
-
space and ethics work

Helen Colley


Manchester Metropolitan University

Education and Social Research Institute


Seddon, Henriksson & Niemeyer

Learning and work and the politics of working life,
Routledge 2010:


Re
-
ordering of work in human service
occupations inc. education…


…leads to occupational boundary work


‘Occupation’ vs. ‘profession’


Gramsci’s notion of ‘passive revolution’


But focus on
space/place


What about
time
?

Time, space and ethics

My four key premises:

1.
Space
-
time / time
-
space

2.
Time(
-
space)


ethics

3.
Sociological vs. philosophical perspective

4.
Accounting for patriarchal, racist capitalism


Outline of presentation


Philosophical views of time + ethics


Dialectical materialist view of time
-
space +
ethics


David Harvey


How contemporary time
-
space re
-
orders
ethics of education work


Examples of the boundary work this
generates


youth support work


Questions about socially transformative
change

Thinking about time and ethics


Taken
-
for
-
granted:


background ‘flow’


learn from past, form goals in present, pursue
them for future


teleological analysis of identity and agency


Exemplified in ESRC Teaching & Learning
Research Programme (esp. Learning Lives)


Deeply problematic assumptions about
intentionality and agency (Bourdieu)

Thinking about time and ethics

Heidegger:


Being
-
in
-
Time,
Being
-
unto
-
Death


the present as inauthentic


spatiality/materiality/sociality as corrupting


solipsistic orientation to ultimate future
(death) as autonomous, asocial ethic


masculinist heroic mastery (Chanter, 2001)


Thinking about time and ethics

Levinas vs. Heidegger:


time entails social interaction with Others


metaphysics of presence, materiality, desire


ethics of social solidarity


elevation of feminine care as ethical ideal


but fails to recognise historical oppression of
women


remains patriarchal


generalised, abstract ‘Other’ erases material
experiences of inequality (Sikka 2001, Hewitt
1997)

Thinking about time and ethics

Massey:


Cf. Foucault


vs. notions of space as
fixed/dead and time as dynamic


change


mobilisation of both time and space


relational view of
space
-
time


space
-
time produces/is produced by difference


ethical/political stance views difference as
source of progressive social change


but neglects capitalism (Castree, 2009)




What about the times
-
spaces in which we live?

-
capitalist economic crisis

-
austerity

-
intensifying inequalities

-
difference as source of wealth

The tyranny of capital’s time

Time is everything, man is nothing, he is
at most time’s carcase. Quality no
longer matters. Quantity decides
everything; hour for hour; day for day.


(Marx, cited in M
é
sz
á
ros, 2008)


Time
-
space in capitalism


David Harvey and others…


Time in three registers


Historical time


Abstract clock time


Concrete process time


Space in two registers


‘Production’ space (commodities)


‘Living’ space (social reproduction)


All time
-
space is constituted
through
praxis
, not external to praxis

Abstract time

Abstract time seeks to annihilate historical time:


“For [capitalists], time can have only one dimension: that of the
eternal present
. The past for them is nothing more than the
backward projection and blind justification of the established
present, and the future is only the self
-
contradictorily timeless
extension of the


no matter how destructive and thereby also
self
-
destructive


‘natural order’ of the here and now,
encapsulated in the constantly repeated mindless dictum
according to which ‘there is no alternative’. Perversely, that is
supposed to sum up the future.”

(M
é
sz
á
ros, 2008: 21)

Abstract time
v.

concrete time


Clock time


Measures labour


Qualitatively homogenous


Indifferent to material content


Imposed on experience


Focus on exchange
-
values


Driven by profit


Production space


Masculinist


Process time


Measured by labour


Qualitatively variable


Defined by material content


Lived through experience


Focus on use
-
values


Driven by needs


Social reproduction space


Feminised

Time
-
space is
gendered
in patriarchal capitalism

Concrete time
-
space


Cf. Levinas’ stereotype of feminine nurture


Not ‘outside’ capitalist social relations


Capitalism constitutes time
-
space as a means
of constituting itself


our social universe


Concrete time
-
space always exists in
dialectical relationship to historical and
abstract time
-
space


Time
-
space
-
ethics nexus of human service/
education work

Human service work


Won by struggle: the ‘social wage’


precarious


Gendered space


feminised


Concrete time has inherent
ethical

dimension


Work remains within capitalist social relations


Tension between concrete and abstract time


…especially in times of economic cutbacks


…when use
-
value (i.e. ethics) is re
-
ordered
from care to control

Time
-
space
-
ethics of education/human services

Circulation of value

(Spatial and temporal mobilisation)

Capital investment

Commodity production

(Production space,
abstract time)

Exchange
-
value

Consumption

Taxes/state debt

Reproduction of labour power

Social expenditure

(Living space, process time)

Use
-
value/ethics

Care Control

Ethics work in time
-
space


Ethics of occupational roles


Partly


professions/practitioners


But also



policy
-
makers & institutions who
pre
-
construct
occupational roles


Managerialist audit culture re
-
orders work, re
-
configures roles


…and thereby re
-
orders time
-
space
-
ethics


…generating ‘ethics work’


Career guidance:

a de
-
boundaried teaching occupation


Moved into new Connexions service in 2001


From specialist to generic infrastructure


From specialist to generic occupational role


From universal to targeted service (NEET)


Severely under
-
resourced from the start


Chaotic re
-
structuring in 2008


Severely hit by current austerity drive

Historical time
-
space


Declining rate of profit since 1960s


Welfare
-
to
-
work policies


Collapse of fictitious capital in 2008, growth of
state debt


Austerity drive impacts more sharply on ‘living
space’


Exclusion of young people least able to
participate in production/consumption


Abstract
-
concrete time tensions


High caseloads affect quality of work


Working the boundaries of ethical practice


Doing ‘ethics work’


Who to help?


How to help them?


Choosing the lesser evil


creative
accounting


Re
-
ordering ethics:

from care to control


Few or no resources to resolve social,
economic and educational problems


Main resources = for tracking & surveillance


Deeply alienating


‘working for the Gestapo’


Conflicts with managers


Ethical dilemmas, emotional stress


Crossing boundary out of Connexions


by
choice or otherwise

A ‘politics of we’?


Risk of isolated, conservative resistance, but
also…


Solidarity with learners


trying to do ‘the right
thing’


Solidarity with co
-
workers


supporting each
other


Making time/ stretching time/ finding spaces
‘out of the gaze’


Linking with wider, more radical networks


Time
-
space
-
ethics as a nexus for struggle

Key questions


Analyses of time
-
space
-
ethics


Massey and
Harvey (Castree, 2009):


How to recognise capitalism’s time
-
space
regime?


How does capitalism try to subsume time
-
spaces of resistance?


How can we retain the ethical integrity of
resistant times
-
spaces?


How can they be put to work to generate
positive social change?



Helen Colley


h.colley@mmu.ac.uk