Deadlines and the purgatorial complex

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper draws on Le Goff’s social history of purgatory and Richard Fenn’s concept of the purgatorial complex to outline a social history of deadlines. The purgatory complex is a form of sadomasochism where time is the disciplining tool. According to Fenn the purgatorial complex has its origins in the medieval invention of purgatory, the Protestantism of Richard Baxter, North American Methodism and Evangelism and the ideas of John Locke. In taking up these ideas I am giving particular attention to the hope inherent in the invention of purgatory. It offered the possibility of delaying the deadline, but was squandered through a neurotic imagery of time. Likewise in the secular world time is both the cure and the disease and deadlines the sadomasochistic and neurotic ritual of time.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)128-132
    Number of pages5
    JournalJournal of Occupational Science
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2000


    • Deadline
    • Purgatorial complex
    • Sadomasochism
    • Time


    Dive into the research topics of 'Deadlines and the purgatorial complex'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this