Routledge Handbook of Social Futures  book cover
1st Edition

Routledge Handbook of Social Futures

ISBN 9781138340336
Published November 23, 2021 by Routledge
360 Pages 30 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

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

Andrew Curry

2. Agency: Futures literacy and Generation Z

Emily Spiers

3. AI: The social future of intelligence

Richard Harper

4. Anticipation: Flourishing for the future

Christopher Groves

5. BioFutures: Where futurists and biologists meet

Derek Gatherer

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

Deborah Lupton

10. Ecology: Thinking ecologically

Lauren Rickards

11. Economics: Catalysing large-scale system change

Stewart Wallis

12. Family: Homeland connections and family futures

Earvin Cabalquinto

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

Nicola Spurling

16. Literary Futures: What fiction can tell policy makers

Rebecca Braun

17. Mental Health: What can social futures teach us?

Liz Brewster

18. Mobility Justice: Sustainable mobility futures

Mimi Sheller

19. Multi-planetary Worlds: Mobilities of the space age

Katarina Damjanov

20. Narrative: Telling social futures

Genevieve Liveley

21. Postcolonial Futures: Urban eventualities

AbdouMaliq Simone

22. Prospection: Producing social futures

Barbara Bok and Ted Fuller

23. Publics: Infrastructuring proto-futures

Georgia Newmarch

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

Cecilia Dinardi

27. Utopia: Futurity, realism and the social

Lisa Garforth

28. Visible Cities: Envisioning social futures

Nick Dunn

29. Walking Futures: Following in the footsteps of mobility pioneers

Farzaneh Bahrami

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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

"We are experiencing the end of a certain type of epoch. And with that end comes a broad range of alternative options. This Handbook makes an important contribution to the need for re-assessing diverse aspects of our social, built and natural environments and of the logics we use to understand what needs to be done. With this collection, the editors Carlos López Galviz and Emily Spiers give us one of the most distinctive analytics for an alternative set of options. The originality and the daring set of issues here proposed make this Handbook a must read".

Saskia Sassen, the Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology, Columbia University