Contested Time

Janet Hoskins

in The Play of Time

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 1994 | ISBN: 9780520080034
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520919136 | DOI:
Contested Time

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The perception of “time as value” is inscribed on individual biographies and life cycles, not reckoned with the mechanical units of clocks, schedules, or timetables. This chapter explores people's attitudes toward time in the short-term frame of a single feast, where the timing of ritual stages becomes the subject of intense debate. The importance of temporal sequences—their order, directionality, and the coding of relations between the human and spirit worlds—must be treated within the wider syntagmatic structure of feasts. As chains of events, words following actions, and actions that are later reinterpreted as words, these sequences define an etiquette of precedence, deference, and respect which focuses on the significance of the control of ritual time. Ordered sequences, intervals, and chronological markers are central to the Kodi concept of ritual; indeed, it could be argued that control of time is the defining feature of ritual, here as in many other societies.

Keywords: time; value; ritual; order; directionality; feasts; actions; sequences; intervals; Kodi

Chapter.  10148 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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