Historical Social Research

Sabine Schmolinsky: The Production of Future. Chronotope and Agency in the Middle Ages[Abstract]

This paper discusses Mikhail M. Bakhtin’s notion of chronotope applied to the Christian concept of the two futures to be and to come, which basically are to be distinguished by their respective spatio-temporal relations. These require a consideration of the involvement of human agency and practice in processes of future. This can be particularly well investigated within the Medieval tradition. It will be argued that both the individual’s future on earth and the collectively operating eschatological future induced medieval Christians to activity based on experience and predictability in matters of everyday life, or on prophecy and faith in postmortal issues. Here the chronotopicity of the future in a religious perspective might foster a better understanding of the medieval practices and agency which engendered the future for which they were meant to provide.

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