Imagining, forecasting and predicting the future is an inextricable and increasingly important part of the present. States, organizations and individuals almost continuously have to make decisions about future actions, financial investments or technological innovation, without much knowledge of what will exactly happen in the future. Science and technology play a crucial role in this collective attempt to make sense of the future. Technological developments such as nanotechnology, robotics or solar energy largely shape how we dream and think about the future, while economic forecasts, gene tests or climate change projections help us to make images of what may possibly occur in the future.
This book provides one of the first interdisciplinary assessments of how scientific and technological imaginations matter in the formation of human, ecological and societal futures. Rooted in different disciplines such as sociology, philosophy, and science and technology studies, it explores how various actors such as scientists, companies or states imagine the future to be and act upon that imagination. Bringing together case studies from different regions around the globe, including the electrification of German car infrastructure, or genetically modified crops in India, Imagined Futures in Science, Technology and Society shows how science and technology create novel forms of imagination, thereby opening horizons toward alternative futures. By developing central aspects of the current debate on how scientific imagination and future-making interact, this timely volume provides a fresh look at the complex interrelationships between science, technology and society.
This book will be of interest to postgraduate students interested in Science and Technology Studies, History and Philosophy of Science, Sociology, Cultural Studies, Anthropology, Political Sciences, Future Studies and Literary Sciences.
Introduction: Shaping the Future through Imaginaries of Science, Technology and Society
Gert Verschraegen and Frédéric Vandermoere
PART I – SHAPING HUMAN NATURE
Bioethics and the Legitimation/Regulation of the Imagined Future
The New Biology of the Social: Shaping Humans’ Future, Science, and Public Health
Working Imagination along the Food-Drug Divide
PART II – SHAPING TECHNO-NATURES
Competing, Conflicting and Contested Futures: Temporal Imaginaries in the GM Crops Controversy
Preserving Landscapes and Re-ordering Science-Society Relations: Imagining the Future in Transdisciplinary Sustainability Research
An Automobile Nation at the Crossroads: Re-imagining Germany’s Car Society through the Electrification of Transportation
PART III – SHAPING SOCIETIES
Parameters of Nation-ness and Citizenship in Belgium (1846-1947)
‘Make me happy and I shall again be virtuous’: Science Fiction and the Utopian Surplus of Science
Shaping New Horizons: Proactionary Attitudes, Precautionary Principles, and the Experimentalities of Science in Society