Conference Agenda

RS10_07: Negotiating Futures
Thursday, 22/Aug/2019:
4:00pm - 5:30pm

Session Chair: Daniel Welch, University of Manchester
Location: UP.2.217
University of Manchester Building: University Place, Second Floor Oxford Road


Futures Guidance - Agency for Making Futures

Leena Jokinen, Matti Minkkinen

University of Turku, Finland

This paper presents findings of several projects and initiatives on futures guidance. The futures guidance framework combines two fields of theoretical approaches: futures studies and sociodynamic guidance and counselling. Futures guidance applies concepts from futures research to career and life guidance contexts. The basic assumptions of futures guidance start from the notion that images of different possible futures create a space where individuals and social groups can test and simulate their beliefs, values, and decision making in safe environments.

Firstly, the paper focuses on methods of promoting futures thinking and learning amongst different social groups like young female immigrants, job seekers, and higher education students. The futures guidance methods and tools are designed to foster individual and group level futures imaginaries and proactive agency as well as consideration on the social and physical environment.

Secondly, we investigate concepts related to future orientation from the fields of sociology, psychology and futures studies. The concepts on futures thinking, learning for and from the future, futures consciousness, prospection, projectivity and futures literacy. Our aim is to analyse the interconnections between these concepts and their significance for the futures guidance framework.

Our data consists of altogether over 1000 responses to questionnaires, observations and experiences, and workshops with over 50 participants during the years 2010 to 2018.

Our research makes two contributions. First, we contribute to the field of futures guidance by discussing different concepts and their relationships. Second, our study gives a practical contribution by providing a set of tools for promoting futures thinking and learning both on the individual and group level.

Negotiating the Future of Security: The Berlin Future Security Lab (FSL)

Lars Gerhold, Roman Peperhove, Hagen Tischer, Helga Jäckel

Freie Universität Berlin, Germany

While the field of security was determined by privatization processes for a long time (Baumann 2007), we now face a new period of the mechanization and digitalization of security that will largely take influence on future developments in the context of security. Decisions on how to secure people, areas or societies are delegated to information technologies (Gerhold 2017, Kaufmann 2013).

This contribution addresses the question how future developments in the field of security can be displayed, discussed and elaborated in an adequate manner. Based on the theoretical concept of Daase (2010) we define that security culture encompasses those ideas, norms and practices of individuals and organizations that define phenomena as threats and prescribe countermeasures. Therefore, security is the result of a negotiation process between different stakeholders like representatives from politics, civil protection, science and society. As this negotiation processes do not follow explicit rules or take place on specific times or locations we developed the Future Security Lab (FSL) as a new methodological approach. Within the FSL we use scenarios to display how the future of security might look like. Therefore, the FSL is equipped with tools and technologies that display results of security research projects, (e.g. surveillance technologies, empirical findings on technology acceptance e.g.) that were used to create pictures of potential futures. Stakeholders are invited to the lab to discuss the probability and desirability as well as potential impacts and (un-)intended effects of future security technologies within moderated and documented sessions. Within the talk, we present the concept as well as first evaluations of the FSL and give insight to the lab by pictures, videos and a VR.

Exploring the Water-Energy-Food Nexus in a Changing Society: A Method for Rich Scenario Narratives and Participatory Critical Analysis.

Claire Hoolohan, Alice Larkin, Carly McLachlan

Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Reserach, University of Manchester, United Kingdom

Many studies and models regarding sustainability transitions are highly reductive in their treatment of social practices, with integrated assessment models a high-profile example. By poorly characterising the actors and processes involved in transition, and the dynamics of domestic, professional and institutional routines, such studies perpetuate a narrative that technologies offer more probable, feasible and acceptable solutions to global challenges than those requiring transformational changes throughout society (Urry, 2004; Watson, 2012).

We develop a transdisciplinary method for scenario development that accentuates the dynamics of social practices involved in the water-energy-food nexus. This method is used to examine the implications of social, technological and climatic developments for innovations that have potential benefits across the nexus. We seek to understand how the effects of such innovations may be amplified and accelerated, and where agency for such achievements lies.

We demonstrate that this method promotes critical reflections on purposeful sustainability transitions. It allows stakeholders with different experiences to imagine the future with a broader perspective on socio-technical change. Participatory analysis of narratives grounded in everyday practices helps articulate why technologically-focused solutions to grand challenges are failing society, and unravel the opportunities for systemic change. We also demonstrate that this method increases capacity for integrated management of so-called super wicked problems by increasing capacity for boundary crossing and joined up problem-solving. Specifically, participants develop mutual tacit understandings, stretch normative boundaries of what is possible and actionable, and engage in instantaneous pseudo-experimentation with the possibility to direct onwards action.

Activating Imaginaries of the Future in Local Development Processes in European Rural Regions.

Sune Stoustrup

Leibniz Institute for Research on Society and Space, Germany

In the last decades, many rural regions, both in Europe and globally, have been faced with challenges when it comes to both demographic and economic development. As the regions are faced with downwards development trajectories, imaginaries of the future plays an important part in if, how and which actions are taken to overcome these.

This contribution will present how the challenges of rural regions are discursively constructed in local media and local participative planning processes, and to which degree “the future”, as something that can be changed or not, is portrayed. As these processes sees local residents, policy makers and politicians come together to develop new ideas for developing their communities, we can analyse these visions of “the future” as they appear, are articulated and negotiated.

At the conference, the preliminary results from the regions from case studies in the Austrian region Mühlvirtel and the German region of Uckermark will be presented. These regions have been faced with both negative developments and perceptions, but have to some extend also either overcame these, or are in the process of negotiating new visions for the future.