Understanding, Seeing and Representing Time in Tempography

Vibeke Kristine Scheller

Abstract


I discuss in this article how ethnographers understand, see and represent time by presenting a research study of a newly established cardiac day unit. Previous discussions of time in relation to ethnography mainly revolved around choosing an appropriate tense for writing up the text, and few studies attempted to develop a framework for conducting time-oriented ethnography in organizations, i.e., tempography. I argue that doing tempography requires considerations in several phases of the research process: how we understand time through theory; how we see time in different qualitative methods; and how we represent time in writing. I present empirical findings that illustrate different ways that time emerges in the ethnographic research process, for example, in observational accounts, through depictions and narratives that support different temporal conceptualizations, patients' stories about their trajectories and as ethnographic accounts of professional work. I contend that ethnographers need to consider: 1. methodological temporal awareness as recognition of coexisting temporal modes in qualitative data; 2. temporal analytical practices as understanding time and temporality through different theoretical concepts; and 3. multi-temporal merging as a matter of representing diverse perspectives in ethnographic writing.


Keywords


temporality; ethnography; organization studies; time objects; temporal work; trajectories; tempography

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17169/fqs-21.2.3481

Copyright (c) 2020 Vibeke Kristine Scheller

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