Media Times| The Mediatization of Third-Time Tools: Culturalizing and Historicizing Temporality

Johan Fornäs



Time and media have multiple interfaces as media shape temporalities while changing through history. In three steps, this article explores how cultural time is mediated and how it changes through history. First, Paul Ricoeur’s hermeneutics is presented as a fruitful way to understand cultural time as “third time,” mediating between lived, subjective time and cosmic, objective time. Clocks, calendars, generational successions, archives, and documents are third-time tools linking internal to external time flows and producing text-based intersubjective temporality. Second, Ricoeur’s analysis needs to be historicized. After discussing mediatization and its temporal development, the concept of waves is proposed to bridge the concepts of leap and growth. Particular attention is then paid to the latest, digital wave of mediatization. Referring to John Durham Peters and other media historians, some characteristics of this phase of time remediation are listed. Finally, critical, and political aspects are discussed, concluding that, although new technologies may threaten third time, this threat is counteracted by remediation that links digital time back to inherited modes of temporal representation.


media, mediatization, temporality, cultural time, history, Paul Ricoeur

Full Text: