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Another Future is Possible! Social Science and Speculative Experimentation...
Wed 15 March 2017, 16:00 – 17:30 GMT
Is another future possible? Paul Valéry once famously wrote that the problem with our times is that the future is not what it used to be. Indeed, despite the overwhelming pace of social, economic, political and ecological transformations, our practices of thinking and knowing can hardly engage futures without simultaneously pulling them back to the quicksand that governs the problematic of the present. Largely premised on anticipatory logics, probabilistic rationalities, and risk assessments, they insist, as Valéry said, in entering the future backwards. In this talk I provide a series of provocations and propositions towards a possible response to this impasse. Waging that another future is possible, which is to say, that it matters what modes of futurity we cultivate to cultivate other futures with, I explore the improbable contours of a speculative relationship to futures in a world of ifs. Futures that matter because they are other to the mere prolongation of the present. Rescuing the notion of speculation from the hands of financial speculators, I propose a practice of speculative experimentation whose task is that of dramatising and fabulating futures from the standpoint of what our usual engagements must judge, in all likelihood, to be impossible– the becoming of novel and exceptional events that, against all odds, transform the very order of the possible, the probable, and the plausible.