Contested Futures: A Sociology of Prospective Techno-Science

In a unique volume, Contested Futures brings together a group of scholars to examine the relationships between social action and the future. Rather than speculating upon what the future might bring, the volume interrogates the metaphors and practices through which the future is mobilized as an object of present day action and agency. The book shifts the analytical gaze from looking into the future to looking at the future as a sociological phenomenon in its own right. Futures are thus contested in as much as they register differences of interest, time frame or organizational and political form. Contestation is also evident in the ascendancy of certain discourses, languages and metaphors which foreclose some futures whilst facilitating others. But futures are far from being simply linguistic abstractions, and in fact can often be seen to harden into material entrenchment as expectations become scripted into 'path dependency' and 'lock in'. Contested Futures is an invaluable analysis for both academics and policy actors seeking a better understanding of the ubiquity of futures-discourse in the context of today's uncertainties.