Understanding, Seeing and Representing Time in Tempography


  • Vibeke Kristine Scheller Copenhagen Business School




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


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.


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Author Biography

Vibeke Kristine Scheller, Copenhagen Business School

Vibeke Kristine SCHELLER has a MA in working life studies and psychology from Roskilde University and a PhD in organization and management studies from Copenhagen Business School. She is currently working as a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Organization, Copenhagen Business School. Her main research focuses are: Time, temporality and practice based research in public organizations.




How to Cite

Scheller, V. K. (2020). Understanding, Seeing and Representing Time in Tempography. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 21(2). https://doi.org/10.17169/fqs-21.2.3481



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