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"Has Man a Future?" Bargaining for "the Good Life" in a World of Rising Uncertainty
Ju-chen Chen (The Chinese University of Hong Kong)
Hsin-yi Lu (National Taiwan University)
Each panel will have 4 papers (4+4)
Time zone:
Thursday 23 July, 8:30-10:15, 11:00-12:45

Short abstract:

This panel sees the world as full of changes. We wonder whether the search for "the good life" in this uncertainty saturated world is a trans-regional phenomenon and asking whether the pursuit is a bargain against a not-so-ideal present, or is it compelled by the fear of falling behind?

Long abstract:

This panel starts with an Asian perspective and invites interlocutors from Europe and beyond to contemplate a shared concern regarding uncertainty and a worsening prospect of the future. Asia has been considered as in rising. It witnesses emerging cosmopolitans with transnational investments, expanding neoliberal markets and unprecedented cross border migration, the importation of new technologies and aspirations, and the commodification of exotic-turned-chic traditions. While Asia is seen as a promising new land that replaces the old world centers, existing Asian metropolitans also suffer a sense of insecurity of losing their fame to emerging cities. Under such conditions, uncertainly is often the state of mind shared by many Asians. Is uncertainty seen as a risk in life or as an opportunity for change? When facing uncertainty, people are often guided by their imaginaries of the future. In the uncertainty and opportunity saturated world, one shared aspiration is the pursuit of "the good life." However, do people still believe in an absolute good life? Or, does the pursuit tell a story of fear — the fear of falling behind and missing opportunities? Is the good life an imaginary against a not so good present? Asia is rising and, with it, the enlarged gap of differences, infinite competitions, and a lack of meaning. Considering that this Asian story is embedded in the global context — the rising of Asia implies the falling of other places, how do people in Europe and beyond take this bargaining for the good life?