Accepted Paper:

Repairing the grounds of future imaginaries: Transition Towns and the 'end of useless'  

Author:

Nicholas Beuret (University of Essex)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores repair as a practice that acts as a means of creating the grounds for imagining other futures. In exploring repair as a practice of thick justice (Papadopoulos 2010) I contend that repair offers a means of making futures in an era of imaginal scarcity.

Paper long abstract:

While fears of peak oil have been superseded by the terror of fossil fuel abundance, the idea that the more-than-human world might cease to sustain us has given rise to a series of novel experiments. Of these Transition Towns is notable insofar as it takes the material conditions of how we imagine the future as its locus of activity. Transition Towns' argue that the lack of future manifest in environmental politics vis-a-vis climate change reflects our inabilities to act on our own material conditions. We are 'useless' insofar as we lack the capacity to act on the infrastructure of our lives. To that end they advocate a practice of repair. Repair constitutes a mode of envisioning the present as broken and thus the future as open to intervention (Jackson 2013). It acts on the capacities of socio-technical infrastructure to sustain different forms of life. And crucially it suggests the need to alter our capacities as a part of any process of transforming the material basis of alternative imaginaries. Transition Towns argues that the future can be reclaimed as a terrain of activity once our capacities to engage with it are altered.

This paper explores repair as a practice that acts as a means of creating the grounds for imagining other futures. In exploring repair as a practice of thick justice (Papadopoulos 2010) I contend that repair offers a means of making futures in an era of imaginal scarcity.

Panel T028
Futures in the making and re-making