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Chapter 2 - The economic mediation of time

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 December 2011

Sue Zemka
Affiliation:
University of Colorado Boulder
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Summary

Overview

The empirical and theoretical responses to early industrial capitalism tell another story of the increasing salience of small increments of time. It is a historical commonplace that the nineteenth-century factories were the birthplace of a modern experience of time. Chapter 2 concretizes this claim with two sets of nineteenth-century source materials: records of factory life and socialist economics.

The first part of this chapter tries to recover some of the experiential immediacy that beleaguered the first generations of factory workers. Coupled with the reports of medical investigators, the testimonies of workers show that the commonplace about factories being the birthplace of modern temporality is as old as the factory system itself. The second part of this chapter traces these concerns as they are taken up by socialist-economic theory. Socialist economics assimilates abstract time into its critique of capitalism and its utopian alternative. Marxism goes one step further by presenting itself as a hermeneutic key to capitalist economics, whose deep structure is organized by temporal processes and transformations – by what capitalism does with time.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2011

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  • The economic mediation of time
  • Sue Zemka, University of Colorado Boulder
  • Book: Time and the Moment in Victorian Literature and Society
  • Online publication: 05 December 2011
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139017565.003
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  • The economic mediation of time
  • Sue Zemka, University of Colorado Boulder
  • Book: Time and the Moment in Victorian Literature and Society
  • Online publication: 05 December 2011
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139017565.003
Available formats
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Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

  • The economic mediation of time
  • Sue Zemka, University of Colorado Boulder
  • Book: Time and the Moment in Victorian Literature and Society
  • Online publication: 05 December 2011
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139017565.003
Available formats
×