Master's Thesis – Future Imaginaries
I did my master’s in futures research from 2017 to 2020 at the FU Berlin. In my master’s thesis, submitted in January 2020, I looked at collective expectations for the future called future imaginaries. My advisors were Prof. Dr. Armin Grunwald and Sascha Dannenberg.
The whole thesis in German can be downloaded from ResearchGate.
From futures studies to philosophy and sociology to anthropology – numerous disciplines are concerned with society’s understanding of the future, and this on a wide variety of levels. Concepts such as social imaginaries exist to describe social expectations. However, these are still hardly used, on the one hand, to make the unconscious expectations of the future visible and criticizable, and thus, on the other hand, to create the possibility of developing alternative images of the future, which lie beyond the previous expectations of the future.
This work aims to establish a term for the specific future expectations in society: Future Imaginaries. This term is already used sporadically but without being theorized in more detail. To approach a first description of future imaginaries, the concepts of the future from futures studies and collective expectations (imaginaries) from sociology and anthropology are combined. The aim is to develop a theory-based outline for considering social expectations of the future from the perspective of futures studies, on which a methodological approach can be grounded.
The thesis was written in German, but I’ve begun to translate it, chapter by chapter (linked below).1
Table of contents
The linked parts have been translated into English.
- 1.1 Goals
- 1.2 Approach
- 1.3 Research questions
- 1.4 Critical Futures Studies
- 1.5 Situating the researcher
2. Observations on futures and imaginaries
- 2.1 Futures
- 2.2 Imaginaries
- 2.3 Comparable and related approaches
- 3.1 Observations from the examination of futures and imaginaries
- 3.2 Condensation of future imaginaries
- 3.3 Differentiation from similar terms
- 3.4 Conceptual challenges and inconsistencies
- 4.1 Tools for the examination of future imaginaries
- 4.2 Artificial Intelligence and future imaginaries
- 4.2.1 AI and science fiction
- 4.2.2 Comparison of national AI strategies
- 4.2.3 AI, future imaginaries, and futures studies