Time rich: 1960s counterculture and the creation of good society among contemporary US hippies and drop outs in Hawai‘i
Lucy Pickering (The University of Glasgow)
Paper short abstract:
This paper explores the temporal orientation of a community of US hippies and drop outs in Hawai‘i, arguing that the visions of good society which they describe and seek to live out are profoundly shaped by conceptions of time as an infinite resource and measure of quality of life.
Paper long abstract:
Drawing on ethnography with people who have been ‘dropping out’ of US society by relocating to a rural backwater of Hawai‘i since the late 1960s, I explore in this paper the temporal dimensions of their visions of good society. Relocating to a (conceptually) empty, fertile space has allowed successive generations of drop outs to build a community around shared values of individual autonomy, subsistence agriculture and being in the present moment, to build (at least a vision of) good society. To be ‘affluent’ is not to be materially rich, but time rich. I argue in this paper that central to this vision of good society is a focus on time as a bountiful resource. To be ‘affluent’ in this community of drop outs, is not to be materially rich, or even necessarily secure, but to have time to stop, to chat to socialise. However, I argue, that it is in fact through this temporal orientation that material resources do flow, as it is by ‘going with the flow’ or ‘being in the moment’ that individuals build social networks through which to hear about work, accommodation and travel opportunities. I argue that their shared focus on the present and on time as a measure of affluence operates as a key space through which this group articulate being ‘counter’ to an American mainstream ‘culture’ which measures affluence in material over temporal terms.
Invisible hands: alternate modes of prosperity, wealth and well-being