Featuring chapters from an international range of leading and emerging scholars, this Handbook provides a collection of cutting-edge, interdisciplinary research that sheds new light on contemporary futures studies. Engaging with key defining questions of the early twenty-first century such as climate change, big data, AI, the future of economics, education, mental health, cities and more, the Handbook provides a review and synthesis of futures scholarship, highlighting the role that societies can and should play in their making. While the various chapters demonstrate how futures emerge and take shape in particular places at particular times, the distinctive insight provided by the volume overall is that futures thinking today must be social and contextual.
By presenting a range of futures work from contexts around the globe, the Handbook contextualizes techniques – forecasting, backcasting, scenario planning, collaboration and co-production– to ask how different dimensions of the social are created and circulated in the process. Through its thirty chapters, the volume explores and interrogates narratives, anticipations, enactments, ecologies, collaborations, prospections and so on to highlight which versions of the social are legitimized and which are encouraged and foreclosed.
This Handbook opens an important conversation about the centrality of the social in futures thinking. By bringing arts, humanities and social sciences scholars and practitioners into conversation with biologists, environmental, climate and computer scientists, this volume seeks to encourage new pathways across, between and within multiple disciplines to interrogate the futures we need and want. The social must be our starting point if we are to steer our planet in a direction that supports good lives for the many, everywhere.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Why social futures?
Carlos López Galviz and Emily Spiers
1. A Beginning: A critical history of scenarios
2. Agency: Futures literacy and Generation Z
3. AI: The social future of intelligence
4. Anticipation: Flourishing for the future
5. BioFutures: Where futurists and biologists meet
6. Borders: Retravelling Nickelsdorf
Michael Hieslmair and Michael Zinganel
7. Climate Change: Transformational adaptation in Bangladesh
Riadadh Hossain, Shababa Haque and Saleemul Huq
8. Collaboration: Collaborative future-making
Kristina Lindström, Per-Anders Hillgren, Ann Light, Michael Strange and Li Jönsson
9. Data: The futures of personal data
10. Ecology: Thinking ecologically
11. Economics: Catalysing large-scale system change
12. Family: Homeland connections and family futures
13. Higher Education: The future university
Carl Gombrich and Ashley Jay Brockwell
14. Inquiries: Healthcare futures
Dawn Goodwin and Richard Tutton
15. Lines: Material cultures of future mobility
16. Literary Futures: What fiction can tell policy makers
17. Mental Health: What can social futures teach us?
18. Mobility Justice: Sustainable mobility futures
19. Multi-planetary Worlds: Mobilities of the space age
20. Narrative: Telling social futures
21. Postcolonial Futures: Urban eventualities
22. Prospection: Producing social futures
Barbara Bok and Ted Fuller
23. Publics: Infrastructuring proto-futures
24. Queering: Liberation futures with Afrofuturism
Lonny Avi Brooks, Jason Tester, Eli Kosminsky and Anthony Weeks
25. Smart Cities: Policy without polity
Paul Graham Raven
26. Urbanism: Creating urban futures
27. Utopia: Futurity, realism and the social
28. Visible Cities: Envisioning social futures
29. Walking Futures: Following in the footsteps of mobility pioneers
Carlos López Galviz, PhD, is Senior Lecturer in the Theories and Methods of Social Futures at Lancaster University, UK. His books include Global Undergrounds (2016) and Cities, Railways, Modernities: London, Paris and the Nineteenth Century (2019).
Emily Spiers, PhD, is Senior Lecturer in Creative Futures at Lancaster University, UK. They are the author of Pop-Feminist Narratives: The Female Subject under Neoliberalism in North America, Britain and Germany (2018) and the co-editor, with Tobias Boes and Rebecca Braun of World Authorship (2020).
"Thinking intelligently about the future has never been more important. Too often, however, it is dominated by the failed futurisms of prediction and probability. This book brings together in one place a host of new insights into how social futures are being made today – from the relationship between pasts and futures and conflicting temporalities, to the role of narratives, new technologies, migration and planetary change. It is essential reading for anyone interested in the study of social futures and, in particular, for all of those interested in creating better futures. The book has the potential to set out a new, practice based, contextual and situated approach to the study of futures that locates ‘the social’ at the heart of futures studies, creating a new interdisciplinary dialogue that will enrich the field."
Keri Facer, Professor of Educational and Social Futures, University of Bristol, Editor in Chief Futures