The future is ever present. We encounter the future in scientific calculations and the justifications that legitimise policies and interventions; it is the subject of insurance policies and financial products. Futures – and the myriad reflections of the future in the present – open and shape discursive spaces and thus impose order on our world.
This research project considers the specific characteristics of these futures and the methods by which they are created. What futures are imagined; how are they conceptualised; and what are their social ordering effects? The project also explores how futures can be constructed to support transformations towards sustainability: How must futures be configured to successfully foster greater awareness of long-term impacts in present-day policymaking and societal practices?
Reviewing the field of climate engineering, researchers at the IASS examine how futures are created and enacted. What are the dominant imaginaries; how are uncertainties understood and represented; and what are the consequences at the science-policy interface? The researchers also address broader issues of futurisation across the fields of politics, economics and education, and explores opportunities to enhance the representation of future generations. Other research activities consider the prospects for sustainable, long-term financial instruments and the development of educational projects to foster conscious reflection on the future.