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Accepted Paper:

Enacting futures: methodological reflections and experimentation in investigating data-driven futures in eldercare  
Mikaela Hellstrand (KTH Royal Institute of Technology)

Short abstract:

This papers aim to contribute to methodological discussion within STS, in particular connected to work that investigates digital futures and emerging technologies. Two methods - photo-elicitation using AI generated photos and role-playing to test potential future scenarios are discussed.

Long abstract:

Rather than viewing the future as a distant and abstract vision, previous research in STS has approached futures as something enacted in situ; a practical and tangible phenomena bound to certain locations and times, shaped in entanglement with the wider socio-cultural, historical and political circumstances (Suchman et al 2008, Brown & Michael 2003; see also Haraway 1991). This way of approaching futures carries methodological implications, as it enables situated empirical studies of future-making practices (Brown, Rappert, and Webster 2000, Felt 2015). Recent work within this tradition have encouraged scholars to reflect more on their own practices and position; even suggesting that we ought to engage more explicitly in the future-making practices that we investigate (Lanzeni et al 2022).

In the practice-based, fieldwork(-like) approach described above there is a kind of fluid temporality - where past, present and future are investigated together – and where the focus is on what their interplay creates. In my doctoral thesis, I ask in what way Swedish eldercare might be affected by the introduction of data-driven services; a potential future that is very much in the making through policy interventions and scientific endeavors. What alternative methods could be adopted for investigating these ‘might be’s’ and the ‘potential futures’? In this talk I will present and discuss two attempts which seek to experiment with methods for investigating futures; focus-group interviewing with photo-elicitation of AI generated pictures of data-driven eldercare and role-playing of future data-driven scenarios in the context of eldercare.

Traditional Open Panel P056
Futures work
  Session 2 Wednesday 17 July, 2024, -