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Beyond time and experience: An institutional approach and categorial framework for the analysis of waiting from a philosophical materialist perspective

This thesis proposes a novel theoretical framework for studying waiting as a multidimensional phenomenon, advancing beyond traditional approaches that often perceive it as a singular, homogenous, and purely temporal event. It asserts that waiting embodies temporal, spatial, and operational dimensions, each with dialectical and dynamic components. Rather than viewing waiting as an ontologically negative or undefined event, it is conceptualised as a material and objective process. Its axiological nature is neutral, not essentially negative or positive, with its classification primarily contingent upon the context. The research underscores several waiting processes as a social institution, emphasising its varied forms in different institutionalised contexts, thereby diverging from approaches that overemphasise these processes' subjective and experiential dimensions. The thesis, grounded in philosophical materialism, scrutinises the historical evolution of waiting, linking it to secular and non-secular concepts of hope and others, such as expectation and time. It critiques modern perceptions of waiting, especially its temporal hypostasis, advocating for a wider, materialist approach that incorporates often overlooked spatial and operational dimensions while not undermining temporal significance. The study introduces a set of categories from a philosophical materialist perspective to analyse waiting spaces' structural and functional elements. It explores the operational dimension of waiting concerning institutional structures and suggests that this dimension encompasses both spatial and temporal aspects. Concerning the temporal analysis, the research reveals multiple objective temporalities within the waiting processes, replacing the idea of a single waiting time with the notion of possible multiple times in several kinds of waiting processes. The final chapter applies these theoretical perspectives empirically, analysing institutionalised waiting processes in the current Cuban context. It successfully inspects the spatial, operational, and temporal components of waiting, prioritising the institutional character of these processes. The thesis concludes that understanding various waiting processes depends largely on institutional nature, including the psychological and subjective behaviours displayed during waiting. This thesis introduces a new institutional perspective on waiting studies, mainly related to social sciences approaches. At the same time, we recognise the need for ongoing exploration and discourse to further our understanding of this intriguing subject. The proposed materialist approach strives to enrich the epistemological status of waiting studies and augment our collective knowledge.
Type of thesis
The University of Waikato
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