Dissertation Abstracts

Temporal Orientations, Time-Use Patterns and Social Inequality

Author: Jarosz, Ewa , ewajarosz@yahoo.com
Department: Institute of Philosophy and Sociology
University: Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland
Supervisor: Kazimierz M. Slomczynski
Year of completion: In progress
Language of dissertation: English

Keywords: temporal orientation , social stratificatio , time use , inequality
Areas of Research: Stratification , Logic and Methodology , Economy and Society


Temporal orientations have long been analysed as the underlying dimension of social actions across all disciplines of social sciences, including psychology, anthropology and economics. However, there has been little effort to combine these finding in a single parsimonious model which allows research into the temporal orientations within society and social strata. This study proposes such a model, together with its empirical validation. The model uses well-established concepts such as deferred gratification (psychology/sociology), temporal opportunity costs and time discount rate (economics), and event-time versus clock-time distinction (anthropology) in a comprehensive analysis of the perception and use of time in Poland. Attitudes towards time as expressed in decisions regarding professional and personal life are analysed in relation to a respondent's social position and social background. These dimensions are also combined with measures of life satisfaction.

The pivotal point of the study is a 2013 survey funded by the National Science Center grant for young scientists. The survey uses representative sample of the Polish population aged 24 to 60. The questionnaire is inspired by the studies that use cross-validated time-perspective questionnaires, such as the Stanford Time Perspective Inventory (Zimbardo and Boyd, 1999), Future Time Perspective (Stouthard and Peetsma, 1999), and the Motivational Induction Method (Nuttin and Lens, 1985). The survey also incorporates selected cross-cultural findings (Hofstede, 1997). In addition to the present-future dimension, the survey also includes the temporal frame of actions, i.e. event-time orientation, or clock-time orientation (see e.g. Levine, 1997), which are closely linked with the poly/monochronic dimension of time preference (Hall, 1984, see also Circella, Mokhatarian and Poff, 2012). These dimensions are integrated within the model, and related to the socio-economic status, age and gender of the respondents.

In addition to the survey findings, I analyze behavioural data from the Polish Time Use Survey (carried out in 2003 and 2004 within the Harmonized European Time Use Survey framework) in order to test whether particular attitudes towards time might be reflected in the day-to-day time-use patterns of different social groups and categories.

The study is thus a comprehensive analysis of temporal dimension of social stratification mechanisms. Findings will be combined with the analysis of actual time-use patterns. The study integrates past findings in a single parsimonious model and introduces a new approach to analyzing time-use data. It also provides new data on the condition of Polish society. In the early years of systemic transition, Elżbieta Tarkowska (1992) said that Polish society was the "the society of waiting": Poles were stuck in everyday routines, harbored a passive attitude towards life, were insecure, and unwilling to take responsibility for the future. This study will allow us to see to what extent this remains true of Polish society after 20 years of profound social and economic transformation.

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