Reading Times: Temporalities and time work in current everyday reading practices

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Inspired by Pierre Bourdieu's observation that practice is not in time but makes time and Michael Flaherty's concept time work, this article explores temporal aspects of the use of literature in contemporary Denmark and describes how reading allows readers to manipulate their experience of time. It concludes, though, that time is not only a practical issue to consider (when and where to read), nor just something to work upon through reading (for instance, changing a boring time into flow time). Indeed, people read in different ways in order to find time for reading and to form their experiences of time, but readers' desires are also formed by the circumstances they are in, including the text they read. One part of the article thus focuses upon cultural norms and expectations in relation to reading time, while another part discusses the structuring temporal effects of a literary text, such as presence, narrative and endings. The empirical data stems from extensive ethnographic fieldwork (qualitative interviews and participant observation) in different social and geographical contexts in Denmark from 2014 to 2019. The article contributes to empirical reading studies by exploring everyday reading as a practice in and of time.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPoetics Today
ISSN0333-5372
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021

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