For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Serving time: Organization and the affective dimension of time"

by Johnsen, Rasmus; Berg Johansen, Christina; Toyoki, Sammy (2019)


In this article, we explore the affective dimension of human temporality. Drawing on the work of Michael Theunissen in his Negative Theologie der Zeit (Negative Theology of Time), we suggest that understanding time as affect may help shed light on how people in organizational settings are influenced by and react toward time, once it comes to appear as an obstacle, rather than a resource to the unfolding of life. To capture such situations, we introduce the notion of ?chronopathic experience? and proceed to explore such experiences empirically among men incarcerated in Helsinki Prison. Here, we identify chronotelic behavior as a modality of activities directed toward dealing with the affective pressure exerted by time, as it comes to appear given, external, and meaningless. We argue that the affective dimension of human temporality can be drawn upon in other organizational contexts to clarify the notion of time pressure and to better understand temporality-related institutional pathologies like stress, boredom, and depression.

Key Passage



Time, Temporality, Prison, Chronopathic Experience, Michael Theunissen, Organisational Studies, Meaningful Work


Psychological Centrality of Work

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