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Life in the fast lane?: towards a sociology of technology and time

Wajcman, Judy (2008) Life in the fast lane?: towards a sociology of technology and time. British Journal of Sociology, 59 (1). pp. 59-77. ISSN 0007-1315

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Identification Number: 10.1111/j.1468-4446.2007.00182.x


Assumptions about the pace of life speeding up abound in contemporary social theory. While many factors are contributing to this phenomenon, information and communication technologies are seen as the main drivers. This article considers the way social theorists analyse the concepts of time and speed and then examines how these claims might be assessed in the light of empirical research. Such research shows that time compression has multiple dimensions, and that the effect of digital devices like the mobile phone is not simply one of acceleration. In particular, I suggest that the social studies of technology offers a richer analysis of the reciprocal relationship between technological innovation and changing time practices. My argument is that while the hitherto neglected temporal dimension in sociological theory is now being addressed, there is an urgent need for increased dialogue to connect social theory with detailed empirical studies. Without this, we will continue to have difficulty distinguishing social science from science fiction.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2008 London School of Economics and Political Science
Divisions: Sociology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Date Deposited: 22 Jul 2010 15:39
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 01:45

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