We are sponsoring a panel at the The Biennial Conference of the Finnish Anthropological Society 29-30 August 2019, in Helsinki on the topic of “Anthropologies, Futures and Prediction,” with Felix Ringel as discussant. In addition to the usual panel format, as described below, we will have an additional session in which panelists are invited to engage the thematic of their own ethnographic and theoretical interventions through alternative media forms, and amidst a more broader and inclusive discussion of “Anthropologies, Futures and Predictions.” Thus, we are interested in having panelists present papers in the first panel, and have opportunities to show ethnographic film, audio, installation forms, and so forth, in the second. And as part of EASA’s Network of Ethnographic Theory’s sponsorship, papers of this panel will be submitted as a special issue to Social Anthropology/Anthropologie sociale.
If you are interested in participating, please contact us. Abstracts for papers will be due March 31st. There will be some funding available for EASA members!
Anthropologies, Futures and Prediction
The future is not what it once was. Technological, political, and infrastructural changes have all effected new ways, not only of imagining, but of predicting and realizing the future(s). This panel seeks to locate itself at the intersection of the multiple ways in which the future is known and imagined, taking into account the dialectics between the researcher and the field. What exactly is the future? Do we distinguish, like Derrida, between a “predictable, programmed, scheduled, foreseeable” future, and l’avenir—the unexpected and unanticipated? How do the temporalities of our fieldwork and our professional experience of uncertainty inform the way we produce knowledge about conceptions of future and prediction? And what of the contexts and extra-contexts in which the ethnographic emerges? Ranging from the online aggregation of predictive data to financial instruments and algorithms, state projects of governance based on prediction, to dreaming, death, and afterlives, to urban infrastructural planning, this panel, sponsored by EASA’s Network of Ethnographic Theory, asks how the future is part and parcel of what constitutes the social in all its utopic and dystopic forms.