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The Political Value of Time
Citizenship, Duration, and Democratic Justice


  • Date Published: March 2018
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108412254

£ 18.99

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About the Authors
  • Waiting periods and deadlines are so ubiquitous that we often take them for granted. Yet they form a critical part of any democratic architecture. When a precise moment or amount of time is given political importance, we ought to understand why this is so. The Political Value of Time explores the idea of time within democratic theory and practice. Elizabeth F. Cohen demonstrates how political procedures use quantities of time to confer and deny citizenship rights. Using specific dates and deadlines, states carve boundaries around a citizenry. As time is assigned a form of political value it comes to be used to transact over rights. Cohen concludes with a normative analysis of the ways in which the devaluation of some people's political time constitutes a widely overlooked form of injustice. This book shows readers how and why they need to think about time if they want to understand politics.

    • Explores ideas on time within a democratic context spanning from ancient thought, through the Enlightenment, up to modernity
    • Draws on a highly diverse set of examples to illustrate arguments - including waiting periods, prison sentences, immigration probationary requirements, political calendars, and election scheduling
    • Makes an original theoretical argument with applied implications, opening up new avenues for theoretical and empirical research
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Time is the ultimate scarce resource, defying every human attempt to defy its inevitable reckoning. As a result, time is intimately bound up with struggles over power and resources; indeed it often gives those struggles their meaning and point. Yet political theorists have paid scant attention to time. Elizabeth F. Cohen sets out to remedy this situation in her lucid and engaging new book. She develops a political economy of time and exhibits its implications for a host of debates about rights, power, and distribution. This is an important and novel contribution.' Ian Shapiro, Sterling Professor of Political Science, Yale University, Connecticut

    'The Political Value of Time is packed with stunning insights into politics and time. Cohen explains that time can help political actors bargain over incommensurables and that not all deadlines are the same … Political theorists and empirical researchers will learn invaluable lessons from Cohen's remarkable study.' Susan Stokes, John S. Saden Professor of Political Science, Yale University, Connecticut

    'In this path-breaking book, Elizabeth F. Cohen asks what politics would look like if we used the dimension of time as a lens to rethink our core political concepts. The frame is original and the implications of her argument for an array of areas - from punishment to citizenship - are important. This is a book political theorists and public policy scholars need to read.' Corey Brettschneider, Brown University, Rhode Island

    'The Political Value of Time enables us to see many of the ways in which time matters in modern political life. The connections Cohen makes are surprising and illuminating. The time spent reading this excellent book is time well spent.' Joseph H. Carens, University of Toronto

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2018
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108412254
    • dimensions: 228 x 153 x 12 mm
    • weight: 0.3kg
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. The sovereign temporal boundaries around nation-states, populations, and citizenries
    3. Democracy, duration, and lived consent
    4. Time's political value
    5. The political economy of time
    6. Conclusion

  • Author

    Elizabeth F. Cohen, Syracuse University, New York
    Elizabeth F. Cohen is Associate Professor of Political Science at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, New York. She is the author of Semi-Citizenship in Democratic Politics (Cambridge, 2009), and other scholarship has featured in Citizenship Studies, Perspectives on Politics and Ethics and International Affairs. She has also published op-eds in newspapers including the Washington Post and Politico.

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