Learning to Care About Time: Temporal Norms and Socialization in Schools

Publikation: Konferencebidrag uden forlag/tidsskriftAbstraktFormidling

6 Downloads (Pure)


Being concerned with time and regulating yourself accordingly is considered, as Norbert Elias has argued, a key element in taking up the position of an adult in Western contexts (Elias, 2007). In this sense, temporal norms are fundamental aspects of the cultural values learned, interpreted and transformed by children. Although temporal norms are often naturalized and less visible aspects of our mundane practices, they are related to significant distinctions, power relations and classifications of normalcy (James et al. 2016, Bourdieu 2000, Zerubavel 1985, Frykman & Löfgren 1979), e.g., not being able to master the use of clocks, schedules and calendars can be perceived as a lack of maturity, commitment or even sanity. In this paper I draw upon the institutional setting of Danish schools to explore how schooling provides an arena for what Darmon (2018) has called a ‘temporal socialization’. Based on ethnographic fieldwork carried out among first, sixth and ninth grade students in two Danish schools, I examine what, how and why certain temporal norms are made more significant and age appropriate than others. By looking into the practices, perceptions and struggles between students and teachers at different grades, it is possible to see how students construct and engage in the social, moral and temporal order of the institution, and how certain attitudes towards time are being produced and reproduced. This temporal socialization of learning to care about time in certain ways entails an active work on the bodily needs, emotional desires, and classifications of time use. Not all students shared the same experiences and strategies for handling the temporal regiment of the school. However, especially towards the higher grade levels most students expressed a common need for their own ‘free’ time to relax on one hand, and on the other hand, a strong ‘bourgeois’ notion of the autonomous individual who is not only concerned with the endurance and punctuality of temporal regularity, but who also feels an urge to control life by planning, coordinating, prioritizing and optimizing the near and distant future.
Antal sider1
StatusUdgivet - 2021
BegivenhedThe IX Conference on Childhood Studies: Childhood and Time - Online/zoom, Tampere, Finland
Varighed: 10 maj 202113 maj 2021
Konferencens nummer: IX


KonferenceThe IX Conference on Childhood Studies


  • Børn og unge
  • Institutioner
  • Socialisering
  • Tid
  • Uformel læring
  • skoleforskning
  • skolekultur