Transformations of Kinship and the Acceleration of History Thesis

Lior Barshack


Departing from Durkheim’s assertion of the primacy of public time, I argue that time is manufactured through the legal organization of society in the form of a corporate body. As a corporation, society enjoys fictive immortality, and it is this legal fiction that allows the flow of historical time. The institution of time, and of the corporate structure in general, is made possible through the political triumph over communal aspirations for timelessness, oneness and death: aspirations for an eternal present, to which I refer as the communal body. The passage from a founding, pre-historical experience of timelessness into historical time is accomplished through the construction of a perpetual corporate body in place of a communal body that lacks a temporal dimension. I will argue that the establishment of historical time and of the corporate organization of society necessitates the normative regulation of sexuality. Thus, the relaxation of the traditional structure of historical time and of sexual morality in contemporary society are closely intertwined.

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