Temporality and Identity: The Role of Time in the Representation of Social Identities at Political Demonstrations

  • Robert D. Lowe Manchester Metropolitan University, UK


The incorporation of time is a growing concern within social psychology. This paper explores the use of temporality as an anchor for constructing political and social identities, and thus for constructing the nature of wider social conflicts. Drawing on internet board discussions about a series of political demonstrations held annually on May 1st in London over a number of years, the paper charts different ways that time is used to construct the political goals of both the demonstrations and the demonstrators: immediate social contrast, origin histories, relations with non-Mayday events and prospective histories. Users of the discussion boards anchor their accounts of their political and social identities within particular temporal contexts in order to incorporate or exclude social actors from their ingroup, and therefore to demarcate the boundaries and subject matter of political conflict.

Author Biography

Robert D. Lowe, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK

ROBERT LOWE is a psychology lecturer in the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies, Manchester Metropolitan University (Cheshire Campus). Alongside an interest in temporal processes in social psychology, his research examines the impact of social group memberships in everyday life, particularly in relation to conflict and to individual and collective health.