A primer for interdisciplinary research on time and future concepts

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Title:Main Title: A primer for interdisciplinary research on time and future concepts
Description:Abstract: This document is a "primer". This means that it is meant to prepare projects in the CRC "Future Rural Africa" for discussions on the degree of universality and cultural relativity of future concepts. As a primer it does not provide a conclusion or closure of scholarly debates in the field but its function is to open up and to facilitate these debates. The document consists of two parts. The first, shorter, part is based on a short presentation that the author did at the onset of the interdisciplinary work in the CRC (back in 2017) and it primarily provides a brief model of how to conceive of interdisciplinarity in a collaborative research centre concerned with the study of future. The second part of the document was written towards the end of the first phase of the CRC and contains some concrete examples of debates on concepts of time and future. There is no claim to be comprehensive here since there has recently been a considerable boost in studies on the cognitive foundations of time and related domains such as space and causality. While case material from Africa has increasingly been included in these debates, much of the attention is devoted to underlying questions of cognition and linguistic relativity and not so much to the descriptions of diversity and similarity in concepts of time and future. The study of cultural relativity with regard to time concepts which flourished initially in anthropology and linguistics has now been shifted to research in economics and neighbouring disciplines that have a practical interest in development - which also happen to be the interdisciplinary fields that are relevant in the CRC. Abstract linguistic distinctions such as that between weak FTR (Future Time Reference) and strong FTR languages become associated with concrete cultural differences of leading a healthy life and saving for the future. This contribution looks critically at these typologies with reference to African case studies and it argues that research would benefit from a closer combination between descriptions of African case material and comparative issues. It is also noteworthy that the discussions often center around the notion of "time" rather than "future" but typically the one is implicated in the other so that many underlying arguments can be read for both, time and future.
Identifier:10.5880/TRR228DB.12 (DOI)
Citation Advice:This document is a preprint and has not been certified by peer review. A link to the peer-reviewed paper will be added after review process is finalised.
Responsible Party
Creator:Thomas Widlok (Author)
Funding Reference:Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG): CRC/TRR 228: Future Rural Africa: Future-making and social-ecological transformation
Publisher:CRC/TRR228 Database (TRR228DB)
Publication Year:2021
File Details
Data Type:Text - Text
File Size:492 KB
Date:Copyrighted: 31.01.2021
Mime Type:application/pdf
Data Format:PDF
Status:In Process
Download Permission:Free
General Access and Use Conditions:According to the TRR228DB data policy agreement.
Access Limitations:According to the TRR228DB data policy agreement.
Specific Information - Report
Report Date:1st of February, 2021
Report Type:Other
Report City:Cologne, Germany
Report Institution:University of Cologne, Institute for African Studies and Egyptology
Number of Pages:28 (1 - 28)
Metadata Details
Metadata Creator:Thomas Widlok
Metadata Created:01.02.2021
Metadata Last Updated:01.02.2021
Funding Phase:1
Metadata Language:English
Metadata Version:V50
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