The politics of anticipation: On knowing and governing environmental futures

Publisher:
Elsevier
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Futures, 2017, (92), pp. 5 - 11
Issue Date:
2017-09-18
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In this article we describe how the historical emergence and rise of future studies, since the founding issue of Futures in 1968, has been intricately connected to the emergence and development of environmental anticipation as discourse and practice. We trace a dialectical and inter-twined relationship between technologies of environmental anticipation and forecasting, and technologies of anti-environmentalist anticipation and counter-intervention, one which we argue shapes not only the contemporary politics of anticipation, but in a very material sense, the future conditions of biological and social life on Earth. In so doing we want to address the possible contributions that the field of futures studies can make to to reimagining collective agency and ways of being on Earth, whilst reflecting critically upon its genealogical relations to the political reason and strategic horizons of powerful fossil fuel interests, from the crisis of the 1970s to the present. The article also introduces this special issue of Futures on “The Politics of Environmental Anticipation” with the aim to bring to the fore the role that social scientists play in environmental anticipation – ie. drawing attention to the fact that the future could always have been otherwise. As a whole, this stimulating collection of eight original articles provides a critical assessment of a range of sites where varied and conflicting politics of environmental anticipation are constituted and resisted.
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