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P135b
Conflicting temporalities in the anthropology of the future [Network of Ethnographic Theory]
Convenors:
Sonja Moghaddari (University of Trento)
Karl Swinehart (University of Louisville)
Discussant:
David Zeitlyn (University of Oxford)
Format:
Network affiliated Panels
Time zone:
UTC+1
Sessions:
Wednesday 22 July, 14:00-15:45

Short abstract:

Social processes take place across varied temporal frameworks, timings and paces. Future orientated action is often challenged by human and non-human actors who follow competing temporal logics. This panel explores the confrontation of different futures under conditions of constraint and coercion.

Long abstract:

From financial instruments, to medical diagnosis, from climate prognoses, to professional aspirations, the future is part and parcel of what constitutes the social in all its utopic, dystopic, but also banal, and quotidian forms. Social processes take place across varied temporal frameworks, timings and paces. Event temporalities often confront (the eventuality of) constraints and contingencies caused by human and non-human powers such as institutional or social authorities, natural forces, non-humans, and algorithms, who follow different, competing timings and temporal frameworks: a locust invasion may arrive just before the harvest, a person may fall terminally ill just after the birth of their first child. This panel examines what happens when different futures confront each other under conditions of constraint and coercion. Building on work on (the impossibility of) anticipation, prediction, speculation, time tricking, and the interaction of pasts, presents and futures, what kind of social dynamics emerge in the face of power inequalities related to conflicting future projects? We welcome contributions that help us ethnographically conceptualize constraints on future oriented action. We aim to engage across subdisciplines in order to contribute to the anthropological theory of the future and prediction.