In a unique volume, Contested Futures brings together a group of scholars to examine the relationships between social action and the future. Rather than speculating upon what the future might bring, the volume interrogates the metaphors and practices through which the future is mobilized as an object of present day action and agency. The book shifts the analytical gaze from looking into the future to looking at the future as a sociological phenomenon in its own right. Futures are thus contested in as much as they register differences of interest, time frame or organizational and political form. Contestation is also evident in the ascendancy of certain discourses, languages and metaphors which foreclose some futures whilst facilitating others. But futures are far from being simply linguistic abstractions, and in fact can often be seen to harden into material entrenchment as expectations become scripted into 'path dependency' and 'lock in'. Contested Futures is an invaluable analysis for both academics and policy actors seeking a better understanding of the ubiquity of futures-discourse in the context of today’s uncertainties.
’This is a valuable book for researchers concerned with future trends as well as present realities.’ Medical Sociology News ’Contested Futures is an edited collection which addresses issues of paramount concern to sociologists, scientists, politicians and everyone who now understands that current technological trajectories, particularly in modern biotechnology, are catapulting us into unknowable futures…The collection…has the potential to make a valuable contribution to all those who now see themselves as having a role in shaping what counts as techno-scientific innovation.’ New Genetics and Society
Contents: Foreword, Barbara Adam. Time, Temporality and the Social Construction of the Future: Introducing contested futures: from looking into the future to looking at the future, Nik Brown, Brian Rappert and Andrew Webster; Futures of the present: from performativity to prehension, Mike Michael. Language and the Social Rhetoric of Technical Futures: Forceful futures: from promise to requirement, Harro van Lente; The narrative shaping of a product creation process, J. Jasper Deuten and Arie Rip; Organizing/disorganizing the breakthrough motif: Dolly the cloned ewe meets Astrid the hybrid pig, Nik Brown; Talking about the future: metaphors of the internet, Sally Wyatt. Passed Futures: Lessons from failed technology futures: potholes in the road to the future, Frank W. Geels and Wim A. Smit; Science fiction’s memory of the future, Hilary Rose. Future Science, Future Policy and the Management of Uncertainty; Scripts for the future: using innovation studies to design foresight tools, Bastiaan de Laat; Genetics and uncertainty, Annemiek Nelis; Expectations and learning as principles for shaping the future, Luis Sanz-Menéndez and Cecilia Cabello; Contested health futures, Tom Ling; Index.