Globalization demands the synchronized coordination of multiple and diverse rhythms, from the volatility of global stock markets to the variability of weather patterns, from the biorhythms of seasonal agricultural workers to the flex-times of corporate culture. Time may be conceptualized in a variety of ways but it is lived all over the globe as a negotiation of multiple and often competing rhythms. These necessarily diverse rhythmic patterns are uneasily harmonized by global processes that protect and privilege the economic, cultural, and political foundations of some rhythms at the expense of others. Conceptual models of “time under globalization,” reflected in everything from colloquial expressions like “the world is getting so much faster,” to more sophisticated theories of risk and volatility, can themselves be understood as globalizing assertions of homogeneity in the face of what is clearly a more protean reality. Despite suggestions that global temporal homogeneity and rhythmic uniformity are accomplished facts, globalization might more productively be understood as a perpetual negotiation between a host of competing and even mutually exclusive rhythmic patterns that constitute its global reality at any given moment and are thus always poised, if not empowered, to alter that reality. Thinking rhythmically about the relationship between time and globaliza-

tion means thinking not only about the rhythmic experiences of differently empowered human agents around the world but also about the natural rhythms of the globe itself, from global climate change to the rhythmic patterns of the non-human species with which human lives and economies are invariably intertwined and interdependent. Studying the relations between local temporal patterns of the smallest of life forms and larger-scale generational rhythms of time has typically not been a project of the humanities or social sciences, even as the intellectual disciplines that make up those fields have increasingly become attentive to the political imperatives of eco-criticism. At the forefront, however, of the most promising and politically engaged ecological research of the 21st century is a conception of the relationship between the local and the global that is not only inescapably rhythmic but is also attuned to the non-hierarchical nesting of smaller rhythmic patterns within larger ones, such that the local is understood as constitutive and

enabling of the global. Ecological resilience and adaptation studies suggest, provocatively for the humanities, the influence of seemingly microscopic temporal and spatial patterns within the tenuous whole that makes up a larger ecosystem. Appropriately for the interdisciplinary volume in which this chapter is being published, I am suggesting an eco-political approach to the subject of time and globalization which draws as much upon an underexplored theoretical strain within the social sciences (namely the late work on rhythm-analysis by the Marxist sociologist Henri Lefebvre), as it does upon a body of work in the natural sciences which, as far as I am aware, has had no impact whatsoever on globalization discourse in the humanities. This is not to say that the humanities, in order to intervene meaningfully

within globalization studies, must simply borrow the paradigms and practices of the natural sciences. There is perhaps no better form of mediation between the intimate temporal rhythms of local experience and the demands of global rhythmic regimes than narrative, the telling of stories. Globalization is itself as much a set of processes for reshaping local economies and rhythms according to dominant models as it is a compelling story about those processes. Fictional narration is especially adept at mediating between local, intimate rhythms and the rhythms of social as well as environmental structures. If fiction has come to seem ill-suited for such purposes by eco-critics who favor nonfictional genres of writing, it is only because we underestimate what fictional narrative is capable of doing in and with time. As a case study, I consider the work of Virginia Woolf, perhaps one of the most rhythmconscious of English writers. While her work predates what is generally considered to be the age of globalization, it speaks acutely to concerns that persist today and thus arguably challenges any facile periodizations of globalization, a phenomenon that derives much of its compulsive force from a perpetual sense of surprise at its own novelty. Inventively mediating between biophysical rhythms and social patterns of learned rhythmic repetition, Woolf ’s work is attuned to the lived experience of the everyday in all its heterogeneity and complexity, its organic and inorganic manifestations, its irreducibly local as well as global patterns. Perhaps most important in the context of my argument is that in its representation of rhythmic variation it offers a radical critique of the only apparent stabilities of the social order and the object world, both of which pretend to a mono-rhythmic harmony that is in fact shot through with discordant and uneasily harmonized rhythms that signify and indeed are themselves the very foundation for potentiality and transformation.