Rituals of temporality: The social construction of time in a nursing ward

Hava Golander*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


This article examines how institutionalized life and its interactional dynamics are combined by the elderly in order to construct a unique time perspective. It is based on a four year anthropological fieldwork conducted in the nursing ward of a large geriatric center in Israel. The ethnography describes three time-structuring processes: (1) Revising the Past-constituting boundaries between past and present through "obiographies of illness"; (2) Denying the Future-constructing boundaries between present and future throuh a distinct perception of death and dying; and (3) Arresting Time-stituting the present as boundless through the construction of "limbo time". It discusses how the ward's 'clockwork environment' of rigid schedule and daily activities serves as a framework for these processes, whose ultimate goal is to defy the regime of the clock.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-135
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Aging Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1995


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