Is time a natural reality that social symbols such as clocks and calendars merely contingently represent? Lateness protocols seemingly exhibit such contingency, for not all cultures regulate synchronization identically. Just as social/cultural time structures are interpreted to diverge from time’s natural rhythm, body modifications are often presented as social productions that divert human bodies from their naturally originated, corporeal temporality. A similar separation informs climate change discourses, supposing a natural rhythm that industrialized culture has invaded, the effects of which humans might be too late to arrest.
Interrogating this conceptual separation matters, given that if certain times are considered to be more natural than others, a situated politics emerges regarding the associated cultural structures. Furthermore, our personal investments in experiences of lateness, which are embedded within social time, seemingly contradict the constructionist impression that social time is merely a contingent misrepresentation of what time actually is. Through Derridian deconstruction, Merleau-Pontian phenomenology, and Bergsonian time-philosophy, complemented with voices from fields including object oriented ontology, new materialism, and new criticism, this book re-evaluates the timing of times from a philosophical perspective.
Acknowledgements / Introduction: The Timing of Times / 1. Social Times: Contingent Constructions? / 2. Relatively Late: Cultural Plurality and Modified Bodies / 3. Subjective Times: Transcending the Present? / 4. (De)constructed Bodies: Are Modifications Late to the Corporeal Scene? / 5. Material Climates, Material Theories: A Late Response or a Self-Reflection? / 6. Methods of Accommodating Lateness: The Representation Inside the Real/ Notes/ Bibliography
Will Johncock has lectured in Sociology at UNSW Sydney. He has published book chapters, and articles in journals including Philosophy Today, Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, Health Care Analysis, and Phenomenology and Practice.
Out of time, up against it, pressed for it or ahead of it - the punctuations of social and cross-cultural timings can be as different as they are compelling. But can these differences be reconciled with the impassive rhythms of natural time, materiality and the body? Johncock deftly explores this question with a philosophical sophistication that never discounts lived experience.
Naturally Late is a fascinating and important book. Johncock interweaves the themes of temporality and embodiment in a highly original way that affords a very fresh and illuminating perspective upon both. The book is well-written, engaging and makes a very welcome contribution to contemporary debates.