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Title: Time machines : technology, temporality, and the Victorian social imaginary
Author: Fisher-Høyrem, Stefan Tørnquist
ISNI:       0000 0004 2747 4775
Awarding Body: Oxford Brookes University
Current Institution: Oxford Brookes University
Date of Award: 2012
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Drawing on the conceptual framework developed by Charles Taylor in his A Secular Age (2007), this thesis seeks to recast the question of Victorian ‘secularization’ – a notion largely abandoned by historians. It does so by analysing the temporal dimension of three Victorian social imaginaries and their technological performance: railways and the establishment of a uniform national time; newspapers and the public sphere; and Bank of England paper notes and the integration of a national economy. It argues that in all three cases, a concept of secular time was actively invested and embedded on the level of the social imaginary and its material mediation. This allows historians again to speak of a process of secularization, albeit only on this particular level. However—and contrary to Taylor—the thesis argues that the temporal structure of Victorian modernity comprised two kinds of time at this very level, articulated together in a dialectic fashion: a secular time conceived as isochronic, abstract, and independent of motion; and a historical time conceived as pure qualitative duration. In this way, the thesis contributes towards the development of a genuinely postsecular paradigm for future research into the nature of Victorian modernity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available