1st Edition

The Politics and Science of Prevision Governing and Probing the Future

Edited By Andreas Wenger, Ursula Jasper, Myriam Dunn Cavelty Copyright 2020
    272 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book inquires into the use of prediction at the intersection of politics and academia, and reflects upon the implications of future-oriented policy-making across different fields.

    The volume focuses on the key intricacies and fallacies of prevision in a time of complexity, uncertainty, and unpredictability. The first part of the book discusses different academic perspectives and contributions to future-oriented policy-making. The second part discusses the role of future knowledge in decision-making across different empirical issues such as climate, health, finance, bio- and nuclear weapons, civil war, and crime. It analyses how prediction is integrated into public policy and governance, and how in return governance structures influence the making of knowledge about the future. Contributors integrate two analytical dimensions in their chapters: the epistemology of prevision and the political and ethical implications of prevision. In this way, the volume contributes to a better understanding of the complex interaction and feedback loops between the processes of creating knowledge about the future and the application of this future knowledge in public policy and governance.

    This book will be of much interest to students of security studies, political science, sociology, technology studies, and International Relations.

    The Open Access version of this book, available at https://www.routledge.com/The-Politics-and-Science-of-Prevision-Governing-and-Probing/Wenger-Jasper-Cavelty/p/book/9780367900748, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license.

    Part I: Introduction

    1. Governing and Probing the Future: The Politics and Science of Prevision Andreas Wenger, Ursula Jasper, Myriam Dunn Cavelty

    Part II: Academic Perspectives on Future-Oriented Policy-Making

    2. Imagined Worlds: The Politics of Future-Making in the 21st Century Sheila Jasanoff

    3. How to Know the Future – and the Past (and How Not): A Pragmatist Perspective on Foresight and Hindsight Gunther Hellmann

    4. Future Thinking and Cognitive Distortions: Key Questions that Guide Forecasting Processes Michael C. Horowitz

    5. Thinking Historically: A Guide for Policy Francis J. Gavin

    6. From Predicting to Forecasting: Uncertainties, Scenarios and their (Un-)Intended Side Effects Myriam Dunn Cavelty

    Part III: Empirical Perspectives across Policy Fields

    7. Uncertainty and Precariousness at the Policy-Science Interface: Three Cases of Climate-Driven Adaptation Maria Carmen Lemos, Nicole Klenk

    8. The Anticipative Medicalization of Life: Governing Future Risk and Uncertainty in (Global) Health Ursula Jasper

    9. Crisis, What Crisis? Uncertainty, Risk, and Financial Markets Peter J. Katzenstein, Stephen C. Nelson

    10. Imagining Future Biothreats: The Role of Popular Culture Filippa Lentzos, Jean-Baptiste Gouyon, Brian Balmer

    11. Forecasting Civil War and Political Violence Corinne Bara

    12. Predicting Nuclear Weapons Proliferation Jonas Schneider

    13. ‘We Do that Once per Day’: Cyclical Futures and Institutional Ponderousness in Predictive Policing Matthias Leese

    Part IV: Conclusion

    14. The Politics and Science of the Future: Assembling Future Knowledge and Integrating It into Public Policy and Governance  Andreas Wenger, Myriam Dunn Cavelty, Ursula Jasper


    Andreas Wenger is Professor of International and Swiss Security Policy and Director of the Center for Security Studies (CSS) at ETH Zurich, Switzerland.

    Ursula Jasper is the Policy Officer at Fondation Botna in Switzerland. Prior to this she worked for many years as a Senior Researcher at the Center for Security Studies at ETH Zurich, Switzerland.

    Myriam Dunn Cavelty is Deputy Head of Research and Teaching at the Center for Security Studies (CSS), ETH Zurich, Switzerland.