Current anthropological interest with 'time' parallels an orientation in climate adaptation planning towards the future. This panel brings together expertise on 'social time' with expertise in future-oriented adaptation such as scenario-building to explore synergies in research and practice.
Since the work of Harvey (1991), anthropological scholarship has becoming increasingly interested with the 'temporal' aspects of global transformation and more recently, the future (Appadurai 2013). With widespread and potentially catastrophic threats such as climate change throwing into doubt our future viability as a species and the spread of globally dominant regimes of 'social time' rooted in both capitalist processes and modernist manifestations of 'risk society' (Beck 1992), the problem of 'time' plagues our search for solutions to a panoply of vexing and deeply complex challenges. Climate change adaptation planning, in particular, is increasingly shifting towards a future orientation centered around the potential for transformative solutions to both the root causes of anthropogenic climate change and local materializations of its impacts. Consequently, adaptation practitioners are increasingly finding value in the potential of scenario-based methodologies and tools to confront a diverse array of problems from species conservation to poverty alleviation. However, within scenario-based practices, issues surrounding the problem of 'social time' continue to present challenges. In particular, a lack of understanding of the diverse articulations of the ontological, phenomenological, and epistemological bases of 'social time', which shape not only perceptions of 'risk' and 'uncertainty' but transformation itself, limit the power of such tools. This panel aims to bring together cross-cultural expertise on 'social time' with practical expertise in future-oriented adaptation such as scenario-building to explore innovative synergies in research and practice.