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Despite the pendulum swing from utopian to dystopian views of the Internet, the direction of the popular and academic literature continues to lean toward its liberatory…
Despite the pendulum swing from utopian to dystopian views of the Internet, the direction of the popular and academic literature continues to lean toward its liberatory potential, particularly as a tool for redressing social inequality. At the same time, decades of digital inequality scholarship have shown persistent socioeconomic inequality in Internet access and use. Yet most of this research captures class by individualized income and education variables, rather than a power relational framework. By tracing research on how fear, control, and risk manifest itself with inequalities related to digital content, digital activism, and digital work, I argue that a narrow stratification approach may miss the full cause and effect of digital inequality. Instead, a class analysis based on power relations may contribute to a broader and more precise theoretical lens to understand the digital divide. As a result, technology can reinforce, or even exacerbate, existing patterns of social and economic inequality because of this power differential.
The objective of this paper is to make a case for a scenaric stance that holds high road and low road futures in mind at once. Opening with regrets about the total eclipse…
The objective of this paper is to make a case for a scenaric stance that holds high road and low road futures in mind at once. Opening with regrets about the total eclipse of Utopian thinking, the paper aims to move on to embrace both aspirational futures and a forthright recognition of the many ways in which things could go wrong. Adopting a scenaric stance amounts to a new, fourth attitude toward historical time and the future. The ancients lived in an ahistorical, cyclical time. Second, modernity embraced a progressive and optimistic approach to the future. Third, post‐modernity turns pessimistic about the future. Fourth, a new scenaric stance vindicates Utopian optimism by pairing it with a forthright recognition of pessimistic possibilities.
This is a reflective, almost philosophical paper that articulates a new attitude toward the future, which demonstrates the significance of scenario planning for attitudes toward the future.
A scenaric stance can restore the liberatory potential of Utopian thinking by yoking optimistic, aspirational futures together with a clear‐eyed recognition of the several ways that plans can misfire.
This is a philosophical, reflective piece that does not rely on any quantitative evidence or rigorous modeling.
The practical implications are major: to the extent that the health of the economy relies on confidence and a willingness to take risks, a lemming‐like race to the bottom will result in a Japan‐like endless recession. A vindication is needed for aspirational scenarios.
Everyone is better off when fewer people are living in crouch.
After three decades of reviewing and contributing to the literature on future studies, the author has seen nothing that remotely resembles the argument of this paper. Its value consists in its potential for lifting people's sights. One stands in danger of a loss of confidence and an endless recession. One needs to restore a sense of possibility and optimism, but can do so responsibly only if one holds on to an honest sense of the real dangers one faces.
In the face of increasing resource insecurity, environmental degradation and climate change, more governments and businesses are now embracing the concept of the circular…
In the face of increasing resource insecurity, environmental degradation and climate change, more governments and businesses are now embracing the concept of the circular economy. This chapter presents some historical background to the concept, with particular attention paid to its assumed opposite, the ‘linear’ or growth economy. While the origins of the circular economy concept are to be found in 1960s environmentalism, the chapter draws attention to the influence of the then ‘new’ sciences of ecology and ‘cybernetics’ in shaping the public environmental discourse of the period. It also draws attention to the background of the present linear economy in postwar policies that encouraged reconstruction and a social and economic democratisation across the West, including an expansion of mass-consumption. It emphasises the role of the 1960s counterculture in generating a popular reaction against this expansionary growth-based agenda, and its influence in shaping subsequent environmentalism, including the ‘metabolic’ and ecological economic understanding of the environmental crisis that informs the concept of the circular economy. Reflecting upon this historical preamble, the chapter concludes that more attention should be paid to the economic, cultural and social contexts of consumption, now more clearly the main driver of our global environmental crisis. Without now engaging more directly with the ‘consumption problem’, the chapter argues, it seems unlikely that the goals of the circular economy can be met.
This chapter explores how classic and institutional entrepreneurs in the sharing economy (SE) frame and make sense of the emergent, plural, and contested SE concept. The…
This chapter explores how classic and institutional entrepreneurs in the sharing economy (SE) frame and make sense of the emergent, plural, and contested SE concept. The authors address this question through an investigation of an attempt to institutionalize the SE as a separate field in France, through data collected among SE entrepreneurs gravitating around OuiShare, a leading institutional entrepreneur for the SE. To analyze the plurality of discursive framings within the SE field, we explored how classic entrepreneurs affiliated with the SE and institutional entrepreneurs made sense of the concept and its related practices by referring to different theories and narratives. The results reveal that classic entrepreneurs used and combined four distinct theoretical currents (access economy, commons, gift, and libertarianism) to frame their projects. This framing diversity was further reinforced at the meso level by specific forms of institutional entrepreneurship which reflected and actively built on such framing diversity. However, over time, such heterogeneity negatively affects the internal coherence of the field. Based on these results, the authors discuss the impact of enduring framing diversity on the SE organizational field emergence and development.
The purpose of this paper is to discuss and take forward several themes in two earlier papers by Ogilvy and Miller. After summarising their main points it seeks to…
The purpose of this paper is to discuss and take forward several themes in two earlier papers by Ogilvy and Miller. After summarising their main points it seeks to consider different approaches to “sense making” in the work of future‐relevant theorists and practitioners; then to consider the case of sense making through integral approaches and then to explore implications through several themes. These include: a view of changes in the global system, generic responses to the global emergency, the critique of regressive modernity and how responses to “Cassandra's dilemma” (to know the future but not be believed) might stand in relation to the views of both authors. The paper aims to conclude with a view of the benefits to be obtained from the use of a four‐quadrant approach to understanding and responding to the human predicament.
This is a discussion paper that questions some of the views and assumptions of the earlier papers and explores some implications of an alternative view.
While supporting the drive to improve upon the theoretical foundations of futures studies and foresight, the paper questions whether such developments are as central, or will be as influential, as the authors suggest. A different view of “how to approach the future” is recommended, in part through four “domains of generic responses” to the global predicament.
The paper presents an argument supported by evidence. Both should be reviewed by others in pursuit of extending the conversation beyond philosophical questions to implications in practice.
The essence of a methodology to understand, approach and even to resolve many aspects of the global emergency is outlined here. As such the paper has many practical implications for the way that futures and foresight professionals operate and towards what ends.
The paper provides a substantive basis for qualified hope and engagement with a range of future‐shaping tasks. Specifically, these relate to the necessary shifts from “overshoot and collapse” trajectories to options for “moderated descent”.
Much of the work carried out on the perspective and issues discussed here has been carried out by those working outside of the futures/foresight domain. The value is both in affirming positive ways forward and extending the professional reach of futures/foresight workers to embrace new ideas and methods.
This chapter examines the phenomenon of internet users attempting to report and prevent online child sexual exploitation (CSE) and child sexual abuse material (CSAM) in…
This chapter examines the phenomenon of internet users attempting to report and prevent online child sexual exploitation (CSE) and child sexual abuse material (CSAM) in the absence of adequate intervention by internet service providers, social media platforms, and government. The chapter discusses the history of online CSE, focusing on regulatory stances over time in which online risks to children have been cast as natural and inevitable by the hegemony of a “cyberlibertarian” ideology. We illustrate the success of this ideology, as well as its profound contradictions and ethical failures, by presenting key examples in which internet users have taken decisive action to prevent online CSE and promote the removal of CSAM. Rejecting simplistic characterizations of “vigilante justice,” we argue instead that the fact that often young internet users report feeling forced to act against online CSE and CSAM undercuts libertarian claims that internet regulation is impossible, unworkable, and unwanted. Recent shifts toward a more progressive ethos of online harm minimization are promising; however, this ethos risks offering a new legitimizing ideology for online business models that will continue to put children at risk of abuse and exploitation. In conclusion, we suggest ways forward toward an internet built in the interests of children, rather than profit.