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Accepted Paper:

Thoughtless futures: temporal affordances and the accidental anticipatory in daily life  
Adam Cowart (Carnegie Mellon University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores the ways in which we engage with the emergent future intuitively. Using the human-centered framework Thoughtless Acts, the author proposes a temporal extrapolation of the framework to explore the thoughtless ways in which we engage with the future in our daily lives.

Paper long abstract:

A dominant discourse in anticipation studies today is the urgent need to provide people with the requisite tools to anticipate and imagine alternative futures. Individuals and organizations have emerged to increase futures literacy with a burgeoning number of methods, methodologies, and frameworks. While this emphasis on education is critically important, perhaps lost in this discourse is an understanding of the myriad ways in which we engage with the future thoughtlessly. A more nuanced understanding of how we interact with the future without thinking is needed in order to inform on specific areas of opportunity for futures literacy initiatives as well as the exploration of how certain cultures may intuitively conceptualize and engage with temporal affordances.

Thoughtless Acts, a framework developed by Jane Fulton-Suri, proposes seven frames in which to organize observation and “see, don’t look.” These frames are: reacting, responding, coopting, exploiting, adapting, conforming, signaling. This model's intended use is to explore the complex ways in which humans interact with the built environment. In this paper, drawing on research in design futures and workshop explorations of this more expansive use of the framework, the paper proposes an anticipatory ethnographical model to surface the thoughtless ways in which we anticipate the world around us.

Panel P27b
Life Itself. Anthropology and Anticipation.
  Session 1 Tuesday 7 June, 2022, -