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Taking time out from busy schedules for local village-time – time to discover shared local needs and aspirations and how to fulfill them – can be a major challenge. There are so many demands on our time.

Marilyn Waring, a former New Zealand National Party member of parliament and political economist, describes something similar in her book Counting for Nothing. She pointed out that in society unpaid household and community work, frequently done by women, is not given recognition or accounted for, while paid work and work which often destroys community and environment is readily accounted for and is seen as important.

Globally-shared time or, as it is referred to, “real time,” in which global production and consumption times are increasingly coordinated, commandeer much of our time.

Increasingly the world as coordinated in this real time is pervaded by risk and uncertainty. Many are concerned about the possible and actual, physical and social, impacts of such ‘real time’ on their local environment.

Amidst such pressures, the instinctive response is not to slow down and take time to clarify what we truly care about and how we might best follow up on this. Rather, the temptation is often to go faster, as the Polish sociologist and philosopher Zygmunt Bauman explains:

Individuals, fragile or not, need safety, crave safety, seek safety, and so then try, to the best of their ability, to maintain a high speed in whatever they do. When running among fast runners, to slow down means to be left behind; when running on thin ice, slowing down also means the real threat of being drowned. Speed, therefore, climbs to the top of the list of survival values. (Bauman, Z. (2000). Liquid Modernity. Cambridge Malden, MA: Polity Press Blackwell: 209)

It may be, as Scott Lash suggests, that in this ‘Age of Speed’ it is all but impossible to create what is here being called village-time, time for people to come together to gain a sense of their needs and possibilities.

Neither global corporate time nor ecological time can be simply ignored as they now pervade so much village life.

However, the theories of French philosopher and narrative theorist Paul Ricoeur can be adapted to create a methodology which the inhabitants of a village can deploy to slow time down and so create village time which acknowledges and relates to these and other times.

Ricoeur’s fictional narrative creation enables the various times as they are experienced in the everyday world of the village to be depicted and integrated into a whole and complete story, one that brings together many otherwise scattered and largely unnoticed events.

The inclusive involvement of people in the construction of village narratives (or successive episodes) enables the narrative to be shaped by human, village time – by personal and shared care, or by a human time that integrates other times including, notably, global and ecological times.

Everyone loves to hear and to help create engaging and meaningful stories.

Communication and film technologies now make it possible for all to be included in the production of their village stories.

Your comments – and your critiques – are most welcome

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