Hodges, Matthew

Dr. Matt Hodges has lectured in Anthropology at Goldsmiths College, and was an Arts and Humanities Research Council Fellow in the Creative and Performing Arts at the University of East Anglia, where he taught Creative Writing.

Ethnography of Time: Living with History in Modern Rural France
2008 0-7734-5285-0
This book advances an anthropological understanding of time and history. Drawing on the philosophy of Henri Bergson and Gilles Deleuze, and the work of anthropologists Alfred Gell and Nancy Munn, the author presents the carefully documented case for the importance of time studies to anthropology.

The argument is channelled through an ethnographic account of the rapid and far-reaching changes affecting life in a Mediterranean French village. These are driven by the regional political economy, and heritage tourism in particular; but in an original analysis of such processes of modernization, the book traces their impact in terms of the lived experience of time.

Experiences of tradition, epoch, cultural rupture and remembrance, mythologizations of history, and the local “politics of time”, are brought clearly into focus; as is the place of heritage tourism, local history, and kinship in mediating disjuncture. A sensitive portrait emerges of how people inhabit the uncertain timescapes of modernity, in a wide range of everyday scenarios.

The book develops the notion of “living traditions” as a dynamic form of cultural continuity; and fashions a layered, integrated model of experience, time and history informed by Deleuze’s philosophy of flux. Discussion extends to pragmatist and phenomenological theories of time, and the work of philosophers such as MacIntyre. Generously illustrated, the book is notable for illuminating this complex field in clear, evocative language.