Advertisement

Future objects: tracing the socio-material politics of anticipation

  • Alejandro EsguerraEmail author
Special Feature: Original Article The politics of making and un-making (sustainable) futures
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Special Feature: The politics of making and un-making (sustainable) futures

Abstract

This paper advances current scholarship on future practices and anticipation arguing that the ways in which we engage in future making not only rely on distinct practices but also on objects, future objects. Future objects are defined as an array of socio-material entities that underpin future practices. In drawing on science studies, this paper develops a typology of future objects that takes as its ordering mechanism the political work future objects perform. Type one future objects are solid and ready to use. Their political work is to secure the present by allowing for political agreements that concern the future. Based on a linear model of expertise, this type of future object provides answers in speaking truth to power. Bodies and instruments, databases and power points are involved when producing, as well as performing, type one objects. Type two future objects are about the experimental infrastructure for creating futures. Foresight conferences organize space with the aim in mind to come up with novel visions of sustainable futures in the Anthropocene. Finally, type three future objects are more fluid and still in the making. They are collectively worked on in iterative cycles. Examples range from prototypes of climate engineering to negotiation texts of global environmental agreements. They operate as a centering device and materialize in artifacts integrating participants contributions. In outlining the difference between the three object types, the paper elaborates on the environmental politics of anticipation especially with regard to science policy interaction.

Keywords

Objects Anticipation Future Anthropocene Materiality 

Notes

References

  1. Allan BB (2017a) Producing the climate: states, scientists, and the constitution of global governance objects. Int Org 71:131–162CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Allan BB (2017b) From subjects to objects: knowledge in international relations theory. Eur J Int Relat 8:8–9.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1354066117741529 Google Scholar
  3. Andersson J (2018) The future of the world: futurology, futurists, and the struggle for the post cold war imagination. Oxford University Press, OxfordCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Appadurai A (2013) The future as cultural fact. Essays on the global condition. Verso, LondonGoogle Scholar
  5. Austin J (1975) How to do things with words. Harvard University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bai X, Van Der Leeuw S, O’Brien K et al (2016) Plausible and desirable futures in the Anthropocene: a new research agenda. Glob Environ Change 39:351–362CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Beck S (2012) Between tribalism and trust: the IPCC under the “public mircoscope”. Nat Cult 7:151–173CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Beck S, Mahony M (2017) The IPCC and the politics of anticipation. Nat Clim Change 7:311CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Beck S, Mahony M (2018) The politics of anticipation: the IPCC and the negative emissions technologies experience. Glob Sustain 1:1–8CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Beck S, Forsyth T, Kohler P et al (2017) The making of global environmental science and politics. In: Felt U, Fouche R, Miller CA, Smith-Doerr L (eds) The handbook of science and technology studies, 4th edn. MIT Press, Cambridge, pp 1059–1086Google Scholar
  11. Berger T, Esguerra A (eds) (2018) World politics in translation: power, relationality and difference in global cooperation. Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar
  12. Berkhout F (2014) Anthropocene futures. Anthr Rev 1:154–159CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Biermann F (2006) Whose experts? The role of geographic representation in global environmental assessments. In: Mitchell RB, Clark WC, Cash DW, Dickson NM (eds) Global environmental assessments: information and influence. MIT Press, Cambridge, pp 87–112Google Scholar
  14. Büger C (2015) Making things known: epistemic practices, the United Nations, and the translation of piracy. Int Polit Soc 9:1–18CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Callon M, Lascoumes P, Barthe Y (2009) Acting in an uncertain world: an essay on technical democracy. MIT Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  16. Chilvers J, Kearnes M (2016) Remaking participation: science, environment and emergent publics. Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar
  17. Corry O (2013) Constructing a global polity. Palgrave MacMillan, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Esguerra A (2015) Toward two narratives of knowledge. Innov Eur J Soc Sci Res 28:3–10CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Esguerra A, Beck S, Lidskog R (2017) Stakeholder engagement in the making: IPBES legitimization politics. Glob Environ Polit 17:59–76.  https://doi.org/10.1162/GLEP_a_00390 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Granjou C, Walker J, Salazar JF (2017) The politics of anticipation: on knowing and governing environmental futures. Futures 92:5–11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Groves C (2017) Emptying the future: on the environmental politics of anticipation. Futures 92:29–38CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Haas PM (2004) When does power listen to truth? A constructivist approach to the policy process. J Eur Public Policy 11:569–592.  https://doi.org/10.1080/1350176042000248034 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hajer MA (2012) Living the winter of discontent: reflections of a deliberative practitioner. In: Heinlein M, Kropp C, Neumer J et al (eds) Futures of modernity: challenges for cosmopolitical thought and practice. Transcript, Bielefeld, pp 77–94Google Scholar
  24. Hajer MA, Pelzer P (2018) 2050—an energetic odyssey: understanding ‘techniques of futuring’in the transition towards renewable energy. Energy Res Soc Sci 44:222–231CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Haraway DJ (2016) Staying with the trouble: making kin in the chthulucene. Duke University Press, DurhamCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Hern M (2016) What a city is for: remaking the politics of displacement. MIT Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  27. Heymann M, Gramelsberger G, Mahony M (2017) Cultures of prediction in atmospheric and climate science: epistemic and cultural shifts in computer-based modelling and simulation. Routledge, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hölscher L (2016) Die Entdeckung der Zukunft. Wallstein Verlag, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  29. Jasanoff S (2004) Heaven and earth: the politics of environmental images. In: Jasanoff S, Martello ML (eds) Earthly politics: local and global in environmental governance. The MIT Press, Cambridge, pp 31–54Google Scholar
  30. Jasanoff S (2005) Designs on nature: science and democracy in Europe and the United States. Princeton University Press, PrincetonCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Jasanoff S, Kim S-H (2015) Dreamscapes of modernity: sociotechnical imaginaries and the fabrication of power. University of Chicago Press, ChicagoCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Jungk R, Müllert N (1987) Future workshops: how to create desirable futures. Institute for Social Inventions London, LondonGoogle Scholar
  33. Knoblauch H (2008) The performance of knowledge: pointing and knowledge in powerpoint presentations. Cult Soc 2:75–97.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1749975507086275 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Knorr Cetina KK (1997) Sociality with objects: social relations in postsocial knowledge societies. Theory Cult Soc 14:1–30CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Knorr Cetina K (2001) Objectual practice. In: Schatzki TR, Knorr Cetina K, Savigny E (eds) Turn in contemporary theory. Routledge, London, pp 175–188Google Scholar
  36. Knorr Cetina K (2008) Theoretischer Konstruktivismus. Über das Einnisten von Wissensstrukturen in soziale Strukturen. In: Kalthoff H, Hirschauer S, Lindemann G (eds) Theoretische Empirie. Zur Relevanz qualitativer Forschung. Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main, pp 35–78Google Scholar
  37. Lahsen M (2005) Seductive simulations? Uncertainty distribution around climate models. Soc Stud Sci 35:895–922CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Latour B (1983) Give me a laboratory and I will raise the world. Reprinted (1999). In: Biagioli M (ed) The science studies reader. Routledge, New York, pp 141–170Google Scholar
  39. Latour B (2005) From realpolitik to dingpolitik. In: Latour B, Weibel P (eds) Making things public: atmospheres of democracy. The MIT Press, Cambridge, pp 14–44Google Scholar
  40. Latour B, Woolgar S (1979) Laboratory life: the social construction of scientific facts. Sage, LondonGoogle Scholar
  41. Latour B, Woolgar S (1986) Laboratory life: the social construction of scientific facts. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  42. Lezaun J, Soneryd L (2007) Consulting citizens: technologies of elicitation and the mobility of publics. Public Understand Sci 16:279–297CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Lidskog R, Sundqvist G (2015) When and how does science matter? International relations meets science and technology studies. Glob Environ Polit 15:1–20CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Lövbrand E, Stripple J, Wiman B (2009) Earth system governmentality: reflections on science in the Anthropocene. Glob Environ Change 19:7–13CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Lövbrand E, Beck S, Chilvers J et al (2015) Who speaks for the future of Earth? How critical social science can extend the conversation on the Anthropocene. Glob Environ Change 32:211–218CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Lynch M (ed) (2012) Introduction. In: Science and technology studies. Routledge, London, pp 1–59Google Scholar
  47. Mallard G, Lakoff A (2011) ‘How claims to know the future are used to understand the present. In: Camic C, Gross N, Lamont M (eds) Social knowledge in the making. University of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  48. Mathews AS, Barnes J (2016) Prognosis: visions of environmental futures. J R Anthropol Inst 22:9–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Merz M (2016) Epistemische innovation. In: Rammert W, Windeler A, Knoblauch H, Hutter M (eds) Innovationsgesellschaft heute: perspektiven, felder und fälle. Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden, Wiesbaden, pp 355–371CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Miller CA, Wyborn C (2018) Co-production in global sustainability: histories and theories. Environ Sci Policy.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envsci.2018.01.016 Google Scholar
  51. Mitchell RB, Clark WC, Cash DW, Dickson NM (2006) Global environmental assessments. MIT Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Nadim T (2016) Biodiversität erfassen: von Suppen und Satelliten. In: Barras V, Blum A, Rheinberger HJ, Zschoke N (eds) Diversität: Geschichte und Aktualität eines Konzepts. Königshausen & Neumann, WürzburgGoogle Scholar
  53. Rheinberger H-J (1997) Toward a history of epistemic things: synthesizing proteins in the test tube. Stanford University Press, StanfordGoogle Scholar
  54. Scheffer T (2013) Die trans-sequentielle Analyse – und ihre formativen Objekte. In: Hörster R, Köngeter S, Müller B (eds) Grenzobjekte: Soziale Welten und ihre Übergänge. Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden, Wiesbaden, pp 89–114CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Scheffer T (2014) Die Arbeit an den Positionen–Zur Mikrofundierung von Politik in Abgeordnetenbüros des Deutschen Bundestages. Zeitschrift für Soziologie, pp 368–389Google Scholar
  56. Shapin S, Schaffer S (1985) Leviathan and the air-pump: Hobbes, Boyle, and the experimental life. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  57. Soneryd L, Amelung N (2016) Translating participation: scenario workshops and citizens’ juries across situations and contexts. In: Voß J-P, Freeman R (eds) Knowing governance: the epistemic construction of political order. Palgrave Macmillan, Houndmills, pp 155–174Google Scholar
  58. Stirling A (2008) “Opening up” and “closing down” power, participation, and pluralism in the social appraisal of technology. Sci Technol Hum Values 33:262–294CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Strassheim H (2017) Bringing the political back in: reconstructing the debate over evidence-based policy. A response to Newman. Crit Policy Stud 11:235–245CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Strassheim H, Korinek R-L (2016) Cultivating ‘nudge’: behavioural governance in the UK. In: Voß J-P, Freeman R (eds) Knowing governance. The epistemic construction of political order. Palgrave MacMillan, Houndmills, pp 107–126Google Scholar
  61. Tsing AL (2015) the mushroom at the end of the world: on the possibility of life in capitalist ruins. Princeton University Press, PrincetonCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Turnhout E, Neves K, de Lijster E (2014) ‘Measurementality’in biodiversity governance: knowledge, transparency, and the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). Environ Plan A 46:581–597CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. van der Arend S, Behagel J (2016) Training participants: building a community of practice to negotiate sustainability. In: Voß J-P, Freeman R (eds) Knowing governance: the epistemic construction of political order. Palgrave Macmillan, London, pp 193–214Google Scholar
  64. van der Hel S (2016) New science for global sustainability? The institutionalisation of knowledge coproduction in future earth. Environ Sci Policy 61:165–175CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Vervoort J, Gupta A (2018) Anticipating climate futures in a 1.5 °C era: the link between foresight and governance. Curr Opin Environ Sustain 31:104–111CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Voß J-P, Freeman R (2016) Knowing governance: the epistemic construction of political order. Palgrave Macmillan, HoundmillsCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Walker J, Granjou C (2017) MELiSSA the minimal biosphere: human life, waste and refuge in deep space. Futures 92:59–69CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Wilke R, Lettkemann E, Knoblauch H (2018) Präsentationales Wissen. In: Lettkemann E, Wilke R, Knoblauch H (eds) Knowledge in action. Neue Formen der Kommunikation in der Wissensgesellschaft. Springer, New York, pp 239–272Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bielefeld UniversityBielefeldGermany

Personalised recommendations