The cultural backdrop to prospection: Exploring the relevance of time-space distanciation

Roman Palitsky, Daniel L Sullivan, Lucas A. Keefer, Sheridan A. Stewart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Although the phenomena of prospection are embedded within cultural contexts, the impact of culture on prospection has not been subjected to systematic study. Drawing on theory and research in social and environmental psychology, sociology, and anthropology, we observe that time and space are heterogeneously organized and understood across different cultural settings, and propose that the cultural organization of time and space impacts the processes of prospection. We employ the construct of time-space distanciation (TSD), first introduced by Anthony Giddens, to describe the relationship between culture and understandings of time and space. TSD refers to the process through which cultural assumptions about the relationship between time and space change attributable to technological, economic, and social structural transitions. We present a diachronic account of changes in TSD (focusing on postindustrial societies), followed by a review of the applications of this construct for current prospection theory and research. TSD introduces a useful means for organizing broad social factors such as wealth, technology, and ideology, and bringing them into relation with individuals' processes of prospection, by looking at the relationships between time and space presumed within cultures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)86-100
Number of pages15
JournalReview of General Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016


  • Cultural psychology
  • Modernization
  • Prospection
  • Space
  • Time

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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