Futures in the making and re-making
Richard Tutton (Lancaster University)
Nik Brown (University of York )
Friday 2 September, 9:00-10:45, 11:00-12:45, 12:30-14:15, 14:00-15:45 (UTC+0)

Short abstract:

This track invites STS scholars to critically reflect on their conceptual and empirical approaches to futures, imaginaries and the promissory. It encourages contributors to think about 'our' own place in the academic literature on futures.

Long abstract:

With its thematic focus on spaces and futures, this conference offers an opportunity to highlight the unique contribution of STS to making potentially desirable and even affirmative futures possible. Therefore, this track will bring together contributions that recognise the possible place of STS in re-making 'the future of the future'. In the 1960s, social scientists on both sides of the Atlantic sought to create a new intellectual space for engaging with the future. That engagement, however, was short-lived. Urry (2008) claims that social scientists have tended to retreat from playing a role in articulating imagined alternative futures. However, since the late 1990s new strands of scholarship on the future have emerged out of STS, and in parallel to STS, that offer new challenges and opportunities for conceptualising the onto-epistemological status of the future and for making interventions into 'lived futures'. Following Adam (2011), we argue that it is difficult to defend a 'future-less' STS given the long term and often unknown effects of contemporary technoscientific practices.

How might we engage with the future as both an imaginary and material process of unfolding, projecting and extrapolating, as both temporal and spatial? What is the relationship between imaging and intervening, promising and delivering, representing and materialising? Through this track speakers can debate and discuss a range of themes including latency and legacy, disasters and disaster planning, techno-utopianism and dystopianism, the promissory imaginary, the performativity of the future, memory and nostalgia, extrapolation and projection, and many more themes neither predictable nor anticipated.

SESSIONS: 4/5/4/5

Accepted papers: