Tinkering with Time versus Being under the Spell of Time

Pia Løvschal-Nielsen, Rikke Sand Andersen, Lotte Meinert

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Drawing upon ethnographic fieldwork in a Danish pediatric oncology ward we explore how children–as cancer patients–respond to the time constraints of cancer treatment that may save their lives but simultaneously hold them under a spell of time. Children respond through practices of what we have called “tinkering with time,” which enable them to seize control not of life, but of time. We suggest that tinkering be understood as time work through which children mold their experience of the constraints of time. We regard this as an expression of existential agency that simultaneously sustains children’s sense of autonomy.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMedical Anthropology
Pages (from-to)215-227
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Denmark
  • autonomy
  • childhood cancer
  • existence
  • time
  • tinkering


Dive into the research topics of 'Tinkering with Time versus Being under the Spell of Time'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this