"Any Time Is Trinidad Time":
Social Meanings and Temporal Consciousness

Kevin K. Birth

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"Birth advances the whole cause of the ethnography of time by showing how to study a multiplicity of times and make it convincing. There is no shortage of theorizing on the subject, but Birth is one of the first to show how this approach can pay intellectual dividends."--Henry J. Rutz, Hamilton College

In a detailed description of how people use models of time in their daily lives, Kevin Birth explores cultural ideas of time in rural Trinidad and the feelings of cooperation and conflict that result from using different models of time.
Birth’s study contributes to the understanding of ethnic, class, and gender relationships in the Caribbean, and it is notable for its emphasis on how individuals manipulate and manage social differences on a day-to-day basis. Using ideas of time as a lens through which to watch these divisions evolve, he explores the implications of the existence of multiple models of time on social organization.
While Birth’s ethnographic cases are derived from Trinidad, they shed light on the more general issue of how people employ time to construct, manage, and even manipulate social relationships.

Kevin Birth is associate professor of anthropology at Queens College of the City University of New York. His articles have appeared in American Ethnologist, Ethnology, and Anthropological Quarterly.

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"should take its place among the better ethnographies being done on Caribean society and culture at the moment." - Journal of Anthropological Research Journal of Anthropological Research

"Especially valuable because he tests abstract theories with concrete examples taken from the field. Any Time Is Trinidad Time is engagingly written, clear, and accessible." -Choice Choice

"A welcome addition to the ethnographic study of rural Trinidad." -Plantation Society in the Americas Plantation Society in the Americas

Birth's major contributions lie in his keen observations of every day behavior and in his ability to convey these observations in engaging prose. He has made outstanding and creative use of interview materials and his own experiences. . . . Birth's focus on temporal metaphors and expressions provides him with an xcellent organizational framework for the presentation of his rich and varied ethnographic data (encompassing schooo, sports, music, gender, and television). Birth's careful attention to temporal metaphhors and idioms also reveals a great deal about everyday life in rural Trinidad and, b implication, life on other Caribbean islands. This is a first-rate ethnograwphy. I highly recommend it. AMERICAN ETHNOLOGIST

"Kevin Birth, in this finely textured and eminently readable ethnography of a rural Trinidadian village, supplements conventional accounts of these phenomena with attention to the temporal frameworks within which they are actualized. The result is a highly original and welcome addition to Caribbean studies and the anthropology of time." American Anthropologist

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