Diverging visions of sociotechnical futures claim to give answers to problems posed by societal crises. This panel will discuss power dimensions of spaces where competing visions meet and concurrent imaginaries of sociotechnical futures clash. How do conflicting visions politicize the future?
The future is a contested domain. Diverging visions of sociotechnical futures claim to give answers to problems posed by societal crises. Such visions seek to prevent the materialization of dystopias (e.g. climate change) or to proactively realize utopias (e.g. non-capitalist production) and present their solutions (e.g. geoengineering, human enhancement, democratized open fabrication) as the best (or only) possible way to address challenges. Visions are, therefore, embedded within power relations that shape collective imaginations and are deeply entangled with commonly shared, historically and culturally stabilized hegemonies and paradigms. A multiplicity of actors debate, negotiate and struggle over their diverse and often contradicting ideas about the future state of things, imaginaries of better futures and how to implement them. Therefore, visions can be highly contested and cause debate, conflict and controversy. In this panel, we invite contributions that discuss power dimensions of spaces where competing visions meet and concurrent imaginaries of sociotechnical futures clash. Where are the meeting points of competing visions and what happens at these crossroads? How do the struggles of dominant or alternative visions take place? How do visions articulate or veil power, dominance and alterity? What are the roles and contributions of scientists, politicians, stakeholders, or even of the professional observers from STS in the meetings of different visions? How do visions provide narratives, context and legitimacy for socio-technological innovation, in short: how do conflicting visions politicize the future?