chapter  19
5 Pages

Making and Contesting time-spaces: Doreen Massey


A number of years ago I embarked on a research project which engaged with two contrasting kinds of time-space: the scientific laboratory and the home. The high-tech scientists who worked in the laboratories were in private sector R&D; they were whizz kids of modern economic development, with high status and high rewards, and 95 per cent of them in the UK as a whole at that time were male. The laboratories were in stylish modern buildings on a science park or, more rarely, in a converted, still stylish, older building. The dominant imaginative geographies of such places are tied up with globalisation and with the “new economy”: these are among the most globalised parts of the economy, and the spaces they inhabit are imagined as equally open and flexible, set in a mobile global information system advertised as being in the vanguard of breaking down old rigidities. And certainly, as we began to explore these places, they seemed to live up to the image. Every day the activities here were hooked up with activities on other continents: conference calls, emails, intellectual exchange and contract negotiations. Trips abroad were routine. Truly globalised places, nodes of international connectivity even more than local (and mirroring in the nature of their own globalisation, indeed producing it in part, the structural inequality within the wider phenomenon). In these senses, then, these high-tech workplaces were the epitome of openness. Moreover, at night, usually quite late and after a long day, our research scientists left their globalised laboratories to go home. And a goodly number of them went home to a country village (we were focusing on the Cambridge area), to a converted cottage with a garden: the English emblematic home. It was, it seemed as we set about our research, a classic return from globalised days to a bounded local security.