Trans-temporal hinges: Reflections on a comparative ethnographic study of Chinese infrastructural projects in Mozambique and Mongolia

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Based on two case studies of Chinese infrastructural interventions in Mozambique and in Mongolia, this article introduces the notion of 'trans-temporal hinge' as a heuristic methodological concept that brings together phenomena and events otherwise distributed across time. The authors explore envelopes used when paying Mozambican workers at a construction site in Maputo and roads dividing Chinese oil workers and local nomads in southern and eastern Mongolia as concrete manifestations of trans-temporal hinges. In exploring the temporal properties of these phenomena, we define the trans-temporal hinge as a gathering point in which different temporalities are momentarily assembled. As an analytical scale derived from a specific ethnographic context, we argue that the trans-temporal hinge provides a novel and, quite literally, timely conceptual invention compared with other recent methods of anthropological knowledge production, such as multi-sited fieldwork.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial Analysis: The International Journal of Anthropology
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)122-142
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jun 2013

    Research areas

  • China, Economy of distance, Infrastructure, Mongolia, Mozambique, Time, Trans-temporal hinge

ID: 209836305