A Watched Pot

How We Experience Time

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"Masterful. This is arguably the most comprehensive inquiry to date by a sociologist on the perception of time, its passage and duration."

--Barry Glassner, University of Southern California

"A highly original and colorful book, fil

--Barry Glassner, University of Southern California

"A highly original and colorful book, filled with compelling, real life and fictional examples."
--Jack Katz, UCLA

"Flaherty invites us to the fascinating world of the phenomenology of time. Particularly sensitive to the inherent tension between the standard and the idiosyncratic, he offers a cross-situational, generic analysis of the circumstances when there is a considerable discrepancy between clock time and our subjective experience of duration such that we feel that time is either compressed ("flies") or protracted ("stands still"). His examination of such temporal anomalies draws on equally-compelling fictional and real first-person accounts. Clearly conceptualized and elegantly written, A Watched Pot is phenomenology at its best."
--Eviatar Zerubavel, author of Hidden Rhythms and The Seven-Day Circle

Time, it has been said, is the enemy. In an era of harried lives, time seems increasingly precious as hours and days telescope and our lives often seem to be flitting past. And yet, at other times, the minutes drag on, each tick of the clock excruciatingly drawn out. What explains this seeming paradox?

Based upon a full decade's empirical research, Michael G. Flaherty's new book offers remarkable insights on this most universal human experience. Flaherty surveys hundreds of individuals of all ages in an attempt to ascertain how such phenomena as suffering, violence, danger, boredom, exhilaration, concentration, shock, and novelty influence our perception of time. Their stories make for intriguing reading, by turns familiar and exotic, mundane and dramatic, horrific and funny.

A qualitative and quantitative tour de force, A Watched Pot presents what may well be the first fully integrated theory of time and will be of interest to scientists, humanists, social scientists and the educated public alike.

A Choice Outstanding Academic Book ...Continua

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