The Social Structure of Time: Emerging Trends and New Directions

Benjamin Cornwell, Jonathan Gershuny, Oriel Sullivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Research on time use has seen several major developments in recent years. These include the adoption of exciting new technologies (e.g., smartphones, wearable Global Positioning System devices) that track behavior in real time, as well as a growing international databasemdashthe Multinational Time Use Studymdashthat has surpassed one million days worth of harmonized time-diary data. These developments are transforming our understanding of the social patterning of everyday behavior. This article provides updates about this area of work, including recent findings regarding foundational sociological issues such as trends in gendered divisions of household labor and over-time, cross-national aggregate estimates of time spent on paid work and leisure. We also highlight new approaches to the study of time use. This includes an overview of advances in the collection and analysis of time-stamped behavioral data, as well as a discussion of methodological advances in the analysis of the temporal sequential structure of everyday activities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-320
Number of pages20
JournalAnnual Review of Sociology
StatePublished - 30 Jul 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Time use
  • gender division of labor
  • quantitative sociology
  • research methodology
  • sequence analysis
  • time allocation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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