Effect of performativity on future imaginaries

This article is part of my Master’s Thesis - Future Imaginaries. Previous Chapter: 3.4.3 Minimum group size for (future) imaginaries

One aspect where the descriptions of the various authors considered in this thesis sometimes diverge diametrically is the effect of performativity on the development of imaginaries.

Alma and Vanheeswijck, as cited in chapter 2.2.2, emphasize the constant negotiation and transformation of imaginaries through manifestations in expression and action.

Goode and Gohde, on the other hand, describe Future Imaginaries, for example, as “congealed” conceptions that can only be “loosened” again through identification and deconstruction.1

These two examples are representative of the performativity discourse around imaginaries between collective expectations of the future deeply rooted in background understanding and constantly adapting through formulation and action. The question arises of whether the two perspectives can be combined. This would require a closer look at Future Imaginaries’ emergence, development, and disappearance over time. This is outside the scope of this thesis but promises new insights into the interplay of Future Imaginaries and social behavior with respect to the future.

Thus, it could be investigated whether the divergence of futures diagnosed by Grunwald (cf. 2.1.1) has intensified over the past years or whether there is, for example, a countermovement from which new, dominant Future Imaginaries have emerged, similar to the Fictional Expectations in capitalism, in order to provide orientation and coordinate behavior in society’s dealings with an uncertain future. The role of climate change in social discourse, for example, could be considered from this point of view.

  1. Goode, L., & Godhe, M. (2017). Beyond Capitalist Realism - Why We Need Critical Future Studies. Culture Unbound: Journal of Current Cultural Research, 9(1), 109–129. https://doi.org/10.3384/cu.2000.1525.1790615, p. 124 

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