Journal Article

The temporalities of capitalism†

William H. Sewell

in Socio-Economic Review

Published on behalf of Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics

Volume 6, issue 3, pages 517-537
Published in print July 2008 | ISSN: 1475-1461
Published online April 2008 | e-ISSN: 1475-147X | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ser/mwn007
The temporalities of capitalism†

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The temporalities of capitalism are in certain respects unique. The temporalities of social life in general are ‘eventful’, i.e. irreversible, contingent, uneven, discontinuous and transformational. Although capitalist social processes are in certain respects super-eventful, the extreme abstraction that is a signature of capitalist development enables core processes of capitalism to escape from the irreversibility of time and to sustain a recurrent logic at their core. This means that the temporality of capitalism is composite and contradictory, simultaneously still and hyper-eventful. Recognizing this contradiction at the core of capitalism poses important conceptual and methodological challenges for those who study it.

Keywords: capitalist systems; economic change; economic history; P10 capitalist systems; N0 economic history; N1 macroeconomics and monetary economics; growth and fluctuations

Journal Article.  8806 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy ; Corporate Social Responsibility ; Welfare Economics ; Political Economy ; Economic Sociology

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