Matei & Preda [Abstract]

Time capital as a social imaginary
[Full text]

Ștefania Matei [1]
Marian Preda [2]

Abstract: This paper discusses time as a form of regulating social life that integrates culturally and historically variable social imaginaries manifested within various economic, political and cultural spheres. While the ‘cyclical time’ of the archaic societies is based on a social imaginary of nature, the ‘linear time’ that marked the transition from the medieval to the modern culture follows a social imaginary of Newtonian mechanics. Time as a “commodity” that characterizes the Taylorist mode of production stands on a social imaginary of efficiency, predictability and controllability. These three notions have taken on new meanings under the imperatives of a digital economy, hence the algorithmic ideology that characterizes surveillance capitalism operates on a social imaginary of ‘time capital’. The new markets and business models of the digitally-mediated economy rely on a recursive and iterative logic through which ‘time capital’ is both converted to and from other forms of capital (social, cultural, financial) and operated on technically-induced processes of acceleration and deceleration. 

Keywords: Social imaginaries; time capital; commodification; digital markets; algorithmic time; surveillance capitalism; entrepreneurship;

[1] Faculty of Sociology and Social Work & Interdisciplinary School of Doctoral Studies, University of Bucharest, Romania,
[2] Faculty of Sociology and Social Work, University of Bucharest, Romania,