Chronicles of Labour: A Discourse Analysis of Diaries

Colin Symes*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Diaries are important texts in the world, and provide textualizations of time that incorporate revealing features of the contemporary organization of time. Much previous analysis of diaries has confined itself to the nature of their contents rather than their form and layout. This paper redresses this. It argues that the design of the diary contains important clues as to the modern organization of time, particularly as it has developed over the last 100 years or so. It also argues that the diary is an important technology of self, designed to act as a place to store aspects of the enumerated self such as telephone numbers, biological information and financial details. Finally, the paper suggests that the temporal templates of the diary lead to a distinctive, succinct form of literary expression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-380
Number of pages24
JournalTime & Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • chronometry
  • diaries
  • post-Fordism
  • technology of self
  • textuality


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