Panel no. 45 - Whose Future Is It? Temporality and Asymmetric Politics in Times of Uncertainty


Title Prof First name Alexandra Last name Schwell
Institution University of Klagenfurt City Klagenfurt Country AT


Title Dr First name Saša Last name Poljak Istenič
Institution name ZRC SAZU City Ljubljana Country SI


Panel title

Whose Future Is It? Temporality and Asymmetric Politics in Times of Uncertainty

Panel abstract

Anthropology and ethnology have only recently begun to analyse how the future influences the present and how possible futures inform actors' everyday actions in the present (Pink and Salazar 2017). Imaginations, anticipations, and aspirations regarding the future (Appadurai 2013) are informed by social, cultural, political, economic, and historical legacies and asymmetries. Such cleavages run across societies and the globe, dividing populations according to class, "race", gender, and generations. Public debates and politics surrounding Fridays for Future, climate change adaptation, the "refugee crisis", right-wing populism or illiberal democracies are increasingly framed in terms of generational confrontation and merge with imaginations of global and social hierarchies and asymmetries. Yet, the position of an actor speaking in the name of a generation constitutes a privileged position of enunciation, and this position derives its power from the asymmetry which it creates. In this panel, we seek to analyse how imaginations and aspirations of a future are mobilized by different actors and institutions who claim authority to speak in the name of future generations. We are interested in the politics of fighting for the planet, national identities, democracy etc. and the way blaming populations constitutes and reproduces hierarchies in the name of generational and global justice. We aim to open a debate on discursive, affective, mobilizing, and hegemonic strategies to justify interventions in political, economic, environmental, and other arenas by paying attention to the notion of urgency and the way it is instrumentalized for social and political divisions based on temporalities in times of uncertainty.

IUAES Commission