The Metronomic Society: Natural Rhythms and Human Timetables

Harvard University Press (Cambridge, Mass.) 1988, English text 294 pp.

In The Metronomic Society, a sociologist advances the principle that society is held together by ceaseless cyclical oscillations embodied in individual and collective habits. People keep doing what they have done before, yet they welcome each day with its promise of a new beginning. Cyclical time keeps things the same by reproducing the past and gratifying the human aspiration for permanence, while linear time introduces novelty and keeps us from getting stale. The whole is a rich extended meditation on time, memory, habit, custom, change, repetition, tradition, and the future. It is a delight to read - closely argued, elegantly written, full of wit and piquant details - and will appeal to general readers as well as to specialists in sociology, biology, anthropology, history, and philosophy.


updated 1993