Sociology of the Future: Tracing Stories of Technology and Time

Cynthia Lea Selin

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The sociology of the future is an emerging field of inquiry that works to understand future consciousness drawing from a mix of Science & Technology Studies and the practice of foresight. Through an exploration of the theories, methodologies, and quagmires of anticipation employed in the study of nanotechnology, this piece introduces the sociology of the future and suggests some ways the field is taking definition. Exploring the future tense provides a means of taking responsibility for what is to come; yet, the movement of the social sciences into the tricky terrain of the future presents tensions. Understanding plausibility, how different communities use anticipatory knowledge, and the performative role of expectations in innovation remain areas of research rich with dilemmas and delights. As social scientists begin to weave their own accounts of futures, they should pay attention to the politics of such rendering.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSociology Compass
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)1878–1895
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


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