AFRICAN HISTORY : PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE, The Unending Quest for Alternatives, by Augustin F. C. HOLL, archéology

AFRICAN HISTORY : PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE,
The Unending Quest for Alternatives, by Augustin F. C. HOLL, archéology


HISTOIRE DE L’AFRIQUE, PASSÉ, PRÉSENT ET FUTURE,
L’ intermi-nable quête d’alternatives, Augustin F. C. HOLL, archéologue


The subdivision of time, be it human or physical, is based to some degree on the image of an arrow —a unidirectional flow. And in différent social Systems, conceptions of time are more or less internalized or cxternalized. In thc internalized situation, conceptions of time that may lead to a cyclical framework of social time that may inckude, for instance, the dynamics of environmental Systems and their interaction with social Systems at différent levels. In the cxternalized situation, conceptions of time may lead to an increasing degree of instrumentation, with conséquences such as the development of machines to divide time into meaningful units increasingly Iess connected to obvious natural phenomena such as night, day, moon cycles, and seasons (Pomian 1984). The variability and diversity of modes of ordering time suggest that time is more than a framework for action ; it is intiniately linked to the very nature of human social Systems and consequently to their evolutionary pathways. Worldviews arc thus bettcr considered as sociotemporal constructs.


Both internalized and cxternalized conceptions of time are présent to varying degrees in every social System, and the nature of their combination dépends mostly on the dominant mode of social dynamics : segmentation or integration. There is, therefore, a long continuum with mostly internalized concepts of time at one end and mostly cxternalized "time-views" at the other. The émergence of history, as a structured set of techniques always in the making, is itself historical and dépends on a combination of symbolic, social, and économic factors. At the simplcst level, tiiat of iiidividual liistoriaiis, wc may consider it axioniatic that the production of comparable historical accounts has to be based [...]

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