This paper is aimed at understanding how we engage with the future in different ways in everyday life. Many empirical studies have emphasised that what we usually call ‘imagination’ of the future takes diverse forms and meanings. Varied narratives of the future that are possible coexist in daily life in a bumpy, semi-conscious and occasionally tense dialogue with one another. To understand this variation of narratives, a thorough exploration of the different modes of engaging with the future that various forms of agency bring into play is required, together with a sensitive empirical analysis. I use Thévenot’s theory of regimes of engagement as a starting point to at least partially explain this variety. Thévenot’s idea that different types of individual involvement in relation to different definitions of the relevant reality (e.g. familiarity, plans and the public domain of justification and exploration) contain interesting implications for the analysis of what I define as modes of engagement with the future. As involved as we are with social reality through specific formats, so are we with the future. As the ‘relevant reality’ is different according to the regime of engagement that we are involved in, the nature of anticipation also varies. The future is ‘made and measured’ within the logic of probability in the regime of plans; of possibility in the regime of justification; of practical anticipation in the regime of familiarity; and of discovery in the regime of exploration. This perspective helps to avoid a reification of the future as something that is ‘there’ and that we simply discover and avoids easy dichotomisation of forms of anticipation of the future as realistic or unrealistic.

Modes of engagement with the future in everyday life

Mandich, Giuliana
2020-01-01

Abstract

This paper is aimed at understanding how we engage with the future in different ways in everyday life. Many empirical studies have emphasised that what we usually call ‘imagination’ of the future takes diverse forms and meanings. Varied narratives of the future that are possible coexist in daily life in a bumpy, semi-conscious and occasionally tense dialogue with one another. To understand this variation of narratives, a thorough exploration of the different modes of engaging with the future that various forms of agency bring into play is required, together with a sensitive empirical analysis. I use Thévenot’s theory of regimes of engagement as a starting point to at least partially explain this variety. Thévenot’s idea that different types of individual involvement in relation to different definitions of the relevant reality (e.g. familiarity, plans and the public domain of justification and exploration) contain interesting implications for the analysis of what I define as modes of engagement with the future. As involved as we are with social reality through specific formats, so are we with the future. As the ‘relevant reality’ is different according to the regime of engagement that we are involved in, the nature of anticipation also varies. The future is ‘made and measured’ within the logic of probability in the regime of plans; of possibility in the regime of justification; of practical anticipation in the regime of familiarity; and of discovery in the regime of exploration. This perspective helps to avoid a reification of the future as something that is ‘there’ and that we simply discover and avoids easy dichotomisation of forms of anticipation of the future as realistic or unrealistic.
Future; time; forms of engagement; everyday life; Thévenot
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11584/280906
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