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Accepted Paper:

Risk, resilience, and alternative futures: scenario-building at the World Economic Forum  
Christina Garsten (Stockholm University)

Paper short abstract:

The paper discusses The Global Risks Report produced by the World Economic Forum and the models of alternative futures outlined there, as examples of organizational scenario-building and anticipatory knowledge production.

Paper long abstract:

The implications of globalization and geopolitical shifts are central concerns in think tanks and other organizations geared to producing knowledge about the contemporary world. The World Economic Forum, a nonprofit international organization headquartered in Geneva, concentrates a large part of its work around the production of The Global Risks Report. The paper discusses the The Global Risks Report and the models of alternative futures outlined in the report, as examples of organizational scenario-building. The report draws on expertise available within the different communities and knowledge networks created by the WEF and builds on research, projects, debates and initiatives piloted by the organization. The three scenarios for possible futures developed in this context are discussed with special attention placed on the forms of knowledge underlying their creation. It is suggested that the scenarios articulate a particular form of 'anticipatory knowledge', geared to contribute to the shaping of political priorities and agendas. The scenarios aim to shape perceptions of what constitute 'global problems', and how they might best be addressed and governed. Hence, they contribute to the anticipatory governance of WEF, i.e. governance geared to integrate imaginaries of the future into regulatory processes.

Panel P110
Anticipatory knowledge: prognostics and prophecy in management and governance
  Session 1