This thesis is about the relation of time and technology, how it is understood, and how it is analysed. My entry point is what I call the paradox of technology and time. This is the statement that the more time we save by using time-saving technologies, the less time we seem to have. This statement presents the relationship between technology and time as a problematic one, and as a relationship where there is a breakdown-situation of some kind. This difficult relationship is the theme of this thesis. The paradox is followed through the thesis as a specific subject in the field of time and technology. My research questions about the relationship of technology and time are:1. How is our understanding of time and technology since we have the feeling that we have less time even though we save time by using time-saving technologies?2. Is an alternative understanding of time and technology possible, and if yes, can this be used to analyse situations where time saved by technology is lost?
The aim of the thesis is thus twofold: First to examine literature that analyses and discuss the relation between technology and time (with a focus on the paradox). Second, to use methodological principles from Science and Technology Studies (STS) to show how time and technology can be analysed in an alternative way.The thesis investigates the time and the technology understanding that is included in analyses of time and technology. The paradox is used and presented as part of these analyses. This also includes a critical reading of social scientific studies about time. There are several challenges to both these types of analyses. There is large focus on economic time. Technology is often left out of the analyses, and in the cases where it is brought in, it is treated instrumental. The various elements in the analyses (humans, time, technology) are also separated. To give an alternative to this time and technology understanding, and to attempt to show how such an understanding can be used analytically, I apply three STS principles to time studies. The principle of symmetry gives the possibility to see the history of time, and to see how the decision that time works is a result of sociotechnical trials, rather than something pre-given. The term embodiment shows how there is other time included in artifacts than the purely technical. The complete time embedded (technical and social) in an artifact makes artifacts hindrances for our time use and understanding in the future. I use the example of the microwave to see how it is possible to open the black box of technology and time for an artifact. This is done to show that time is embodied, and that a historically oriented analysis gives insights into why time is not a clear cut or simple issue, but highly complex.The paradox of technology and time is based on the traditional understanding of time and technology. It is not possible to ‘solve’ or get an ‘answer’ to the paradox, but it must be taken serious for the persons or groups who lives with this feeling. However, since we accept the paradox as a ‘valid’ statement about our time and our technology it does also hide the complexity that is in everyday time and technology. As a statement it hides, because it accepts the time and technology understanding. This is a hindrance to actions that, for persons affected, could change the situation to one that the person is happier with. The paradox is thus good and intriguing as entry point, but not as answer or result of analyses.