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EASA2020 logo16th EASA Biennial Conference
New anthropological horizons in and beyond Europe
21-24 July 2020 in Lisbon
ISCTE-University Institute of Lisbon and ICS-Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon

Call for Early Career Scholars Forum (Plenary C)

Title: Previsioning the future: new tools, new actors
Convenors: Monica Heintz and Cristiana Bastos

Short abstract
From astrology to scientific forecasting, numerous tools have been developed since Antiquity for 'guessing' the future: predicting, previsioning, projecting, imagining. We welcome young scholars’ ethnographies addressing the tools and actors emerging in work environments to predict the future of labour and consumption and their role in the production of inequalities.

Long abstract
If state socialist or post-war economies anticipated the future through planning, current flexible capitalism boasts about the instant readjustment of economic offer to the changing needs of consumers, themselves loosely and unequally defined. Thus societal progress and the digital revolution are invoked to explain why jobs that would be in demand in the near future have not yet been invented- leaving future employees, schools, universities and other categories ‘in demand’ in the uncertainty of their future adequacy to an ever evolving economic system. In this context, new actors have emerged that forecast, anticipate, and finally influence the undetermined future: from trend makers and media influencers to algorithms, from independent consultants and scenario writers to enterprises’ strategic planners and data analysers. Anthropology can use its careful and self-reflective ethnographic method to understand major societal trends from the observation of these actors and their instruments. Is their weight in the decision-making and interference in the future development of economy another form of planning, a way of taming the future? Or is their work merely inspirational to the economy as science and science fiction could be? What are the new inequalities that emerge from the economic presence of such anticipators and trend makers of a global future? In this plenary we call for young scholars’ recent ethnographies of these economic settings and actors whose explicit role is that of previsioning the future and engage them in a reflexion on the link between management of the future and production of new inequalities.

Submission guidelines
We invite interested scholars to submit a 250-word proposal, which will be evaluated based on their scholarly quality and contribution to the theme of the panel. We encourage scholars that are at the early stage of their career (about to complete and have recently completed their PhD) to submit proposals for this Plenary. After a selection process, which may involve an interview, we will select 3 or 4 candidates who will present 20-25 minute presentations in the plenary panel during the EASA Conference that will be followed by a discussion.

Please note that participation in the Early Career Scholars Forum does not exclude you from submitting your work to other panels.

All proposals should contain:

The call closed on 20 January.

Any queries with the above please email conference(at)easaonline.org