Negotiating national and minority temporalities in the city: Living Jewishly in Copenhagen

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If national landscapes, consisting of familiar and homely spaces, have been crucial to the reproduction of nation, so have national timescapes. The yearly calendar with celebrations of particular days as national holidays or school vacations – with their clear if temporary imprints on cities - are the most conspicuous examples. But smaller-scale rhythms of radio and TV programs or opening hours of public or commercial institutions likewise arrange everyday life into “synchronic, mundane choreographies which in turn feed a sense of collective ‘we’” (Edensor 2007: 32). While globalization has tempered the hold of the national rhythm on national subjects’ lives, in some countries, especially in those with less culturally diversified populations and a strong historical self-understanding as culturally homogenous, the hold persists. This paper focuses on one such case, that of Denmark and its capital city, paying attention to how national, seemingly secular temporal rhythms orchestrate Copenhagen. More specifically, I examine how the city – made through nation’s dominant temporal order – is experienced, lived in and engaged with from a perspective of city’s tiny minority, that of orthodox Jews, whose everyday life is governed by a tight temporal order regularly out of sync with Denmark’s dominant temporal order. Combining auto-ethnography and in-depth interviews, this paper draws conceptually on Sarah Sharma’s (2014) conception of temporalities as differential lived times, imbricated in the production of inequitable power relations. The broader aim is to use the perspective of minority temporalities in the city to open up the problematic of integration to critical temporal analyses.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Event8th Nordic Geographers Meeting: Sustainable Geography - Geographies of Sustainability - NTNU, Trondheim, Norway
Duration: 16 Jun 201919 Jun 2019
Conference number: 8


Conference8th Nordic Geographers Meeting
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