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Additional resources for Accelerating Academia: The Changing Structure of Academic Time
Berman 1982). 28 Accelerating Academia The first narrative and experience Tomlinson elaborates on is machine or rational speed. In contrast to Rosa’s technological acceleration, Tomlinson’s conception is tightly linked to the rational-progressive climate of industrialization in early modernity: Speed is made to appear against the background of the most dominant institutionalized understanding of the meaning of modernity: as the conquest of nature by mechanism, the unproblematized belief in open-ended progress, the unstoppable advance and spread of the capitalist market economy and the fundamental shift in culture from an agrarian-rural to an industrial-urban context of experience.
While this view may be slightly un-sociological, it captures an important dimension of speed and acceleration as modern social phenomena. ), it is also about shifting our experience and relation to space. Duffy argues that speed’s pleasures – indispensable for its historical and cultural significance – are intimately related to the technological speed offered by the modern commitment to progress. He, however, notes that it is nearly impossible to discover a commentator focusing on the pleasure of speed in the record of modernity: ‘texts that map a dance between technology and culture are often torn between a base note of techno-boosterism and a tendency to decry the horrors wrought by technology’s advance’ (2009: 264).
The need for coordination, regulation and synchronization is sustained by implementing temporal norms: the rule of schedules, deadlines, the power of short notice and the immediate logic of instant gratification. These ‘hidden temporal norms’ have the overwhelming effect of producing subjects of guilt. Despite being socially constructed, they come in an ‘ethical guise’ as ‘brute facts’. The hidden temporal norms exert pressure on our will-formation and action; they are inescapable, meaning that all individuals are subjected to them; their spread is not limited to one or another area of social life but to social life in its entirety; it is hard, almost impossible, to criticize and to fight them without (severe) consequences.