Cover image for Any time is Trinidad time : social meanings and temporal consciousness
Any time is Trinidad time : social meanings and temporal consciousness
Birth, Kevin K., 1963-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Gainesville, Fla. : University Press of Florida, [1999]

Physical Description:
xiv, 190 pages ; 24 cm
The past in the present -- Producing times -- Distributed times -- Institutional and consensual temporal coordination -- Cohesion in chaos -- Social conflict and time -- Conclusion.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GN564.T7 B57 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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"Birth advances the whole cause of the ethnography of time by showing how to study a multiplicity of times and make it convincing. There is no shortage of theorizing on the subject, but Birth is one of the first to show how this approach can pay intellectual dividends."--Henry J. Rutz, Hamilton College

In a detailed description of how people use models of time in their daily lives, Kevin Birth explores cultural ideas of time in rural Trinidad and the feelings of cooperation and conflict that result from using different models of time.
Birth's study contributes to the understanding of ethnic, class, and gender relationships in the Caribbean, and it is notable for its emphasis on how individuals manipulate and manage social differences on a day-to-day basis. Using ideas of time as a lens through which to watch these divisions evolve, he explores the implications of the existence of multiple models of time on social organization.
While Birth's ethnographic cases are derived from Trinidad, they shed light on the more general issue of how people employ time to construct, manage, and even manipulate social relationships.

Kevin Birth is associate professor of anthropology at Queens College of the City University of New York. His articles have appeared in American Ethnologist, Ethnology, and Anthropological Quarterly.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

The phrase "any time is Trinidad time" is taken from a calypso by Lord Kitchener and provides an apt title for this welcome study focusing on ways Trinidadians use multiple cultural constructions of time in their daily lives. Birth deftly examines the various models of time coexisting in the rural village of Anamat (a village well known to anthropologists from earlier studies by Morris Freilich and Morton Klass); and he documents conflict and cooperation that result when villagers do not share common ideas concerning time. Ideas about time, Birth contends, define social differences and are a major influence on how Trinidadians (and often people around the world) manage and manipulate ethnic, gender, and class differences on a day-to-day basis. Birth explores the wider implications of his findings, addressing major theorists and theories dealing with the impact of multiple models of time on social organization (Maurice Bloch, Daniel Miller, and so on). His study is especially valuable because he tests abstract theories with concrete examples taken from the field. Any Time Is Trinidad Time is engagingly written, clear, and accessible. Highly recommended to libraries serving general and academic readers at all levels. H. Amirahmadi; formerly, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
Introductionp. 1
1 The Past in the Presentp. 25
2 Producing Timesp. 54
3 Distributed Timesp. 77
4 Institutional and Consensual Temporal Coordinationp. 94
5 Cohesion in Chaosp. 121
6 Social Conflict and Timep. 143
7 Conclusionp. 163
Notesp. 169
Bibliographyp. 171
Indexp. 187