Analysing the temporal organization of daily life: Social constraints, practices and their allocation

Dale Southerton*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

212 Citations (Scopus)


There is a tension in time studies between measuring and accounting for the changing distribution of units of time across social activities, and explaining temporal experiences. By analysing in-depth interviews with 27 people, this article employs a theory of practice to explore the relationship between respondents' 'non-work' practices and five dimensions of time. It hypothesizes that practices which demand a fixed location within daily schedules anchor temporal organization, around which are sequenced sets of interrelated practices. A third category of practices fills the gaps that emerge within temporal sequences.The most significant socio-demographic constraints (gender, age, life-course and education) that shaped how respondents engaged and experienced practices in relation to the five dimensions of time are then considered. It is argued that the relationship between different types of social practices, five dimensions of time and sociodemographic constraints presents a conceptual framework for the systematic analysis of differential temporal experiences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)435-454
Number of pages20
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2006


  • Co-participation
  • Constraints
  • Duration
  • Periodicity
  • Practice
  • Sequence
  • Synchronization
  • Tempo
  • Temporal rhythms


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