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Andre Gingrich

University of Vienna

Dealing with Temporal Heterogeneity: Learning and Using Complex Inventories of Time-Keeping among South Arabian Families

Together with the current phase of globalization, notions and rhythms of temporalities that originated in Europe and North America invade the lives of local communities and families all over the world. In southern Arabia, these speed-oriented, linear, and seemingly secular forms of "western/global" time-keeping combine in different and difficult forms with a very rich plurality of local approaches. Families of mountain peasants in north-western Yemen, for instance, use genealogical records to define and negotiate status and social relations. Alternatively, they refer to the lunar Muslim calendar to perform major religious rituals. For other occasions still, they use a widely appreciated folk astronomical star calendar for agricultural purposes as much as for scheduling circumcision and wedding rituals. In this presentation, it will be explored how these various registers of time-keeping are aquired and used among local family members. This will provide some perspectives to assess how registers of temporalities provide media for coping with dramatic changes and personal re-orientation in individual life strategies.
May 2, 2002
Haines 352

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