Arjun Appadurai recently called for a more sophisticated exploration of ‘humans as future makers’ (2013: 285), advancing anticipation, imagination and aspiration as the three major practices of future-making. While future making is a universal task, the ability of an individual person or a particular group to put its visions of the future into practice depends on its positioning in a network of social relations and more generally on the specific configurations of power. As Barbara Adam and Chris Groves observe, the future making of some can all too easily become future taking when, for example, the depletion of certain resources make the future plans of others unattainable. Under the conditions of what has been coined the Anthropocene, these dynamics take on renewed significance for an anthropology engaging the complex intersection of political and environmental issues. This panel thus wishes to draw attention to the contested nature of future making projects by exploring the prevalent power relations and social inequalities that shape the capacity of a particular group of people or an individual to build its own future. We invite ethnographic examples that theorize and describe processes of future making and future taking, addressing e.g. the following questions: Why are some visions of the future privileged against others and why are some marginalized or even silenced? How are different visions of the future used in the struggle for power and access to resources? How can we produce ethnographies of future making that provide nuanced pictures of different and even conflicting visions of the future?
Keyword: Fare futuro, prendere futuro, relazioni di potere, disuguaglianze sociali, futuri contestati
- Appadurai, Arjun. 2013. The Future as a Cultural Fact: Essays on the Global Condition. London: Verso Books.
- Adam, Barbara and Chris Groves. 2007. Future Matters: Action, Knowledge, Ethics. Leiden: Brill.