Time, ties, transactions: temporality and relational work in economic exchange

Theory & Society (forthcoming, 2024)
This paper explores the intersection of time and relational economic sociology. Building on Viviana Zelizer’s relational framework, I argue that analyzing the temporal dimensions of exchange provides insight into how social ties gain meaning through economic practices. The paper shows time’s dual role as both an organizing structure bounding action, and a dynamic element that actors leverage to shape transactional contexts. As structure, time offers culturally-available templates like schedules and rhythms that facilitate coordination and signify predictable social meanings befitting particular relational categories. Yet time also constitutes relational work itself; strategic timing, duration, pacing, and sequencing of interactions signal…