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Imagined Futures in Science, Technology and Society

Series: Routledge Studies in Science, Technology and Society

Gert Verschraegen (ed.), Frédéric Vandermoere (ed.), Luc Braeckmans (ed.), Barbara Segaert (ed.)
ISBN  978 1 138 21737 9 (hbk)
ISBN  978 1 315 44084 2 (ebk)

Routledge, 2017
224 pages,  240 x 160 mm

Price: £ 90.00

Order at Routledge

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Imagining, forecasting and predicting the future is an inextricable and increasingly important part of the present. States, organizations and individuals almost continuously have to make decisions about future actions, financial investments or technological innovation, without much knowledge of what will exactly happen in the future. Science and technology play a crucial role in this collective attempt to make sense of the future. Technological developments such as nanotechnology, robotics or solar energy largely shape how we dream and think about the future, while economic forecasts, gene tests or climate change projections help us to make images of what may possibly occur in the future.

This book provides one of the first interdisciplinary assessments of how scientific and technological imaginations matter in the formation of human, ecological and societal futures. Rooted in different disciplines such as sociology, philosophy, and science and technology studies, it explores how various actors such as scientists, companies or states imagine the future to be and act upon that imagination. Bringing together case studies from different regions around the globe, including the electrification of German car infrastructure, or genetically modified crops in India, Imagined Futures in Science, Technology and Society shows how science and technology create novel forms of imagination, thereby opening horizons toward alternative futures. By developing central aspects of the current debate on how scientific imagination and future-making interact, this timely volume provides a fresh look at the complex interrelationships between science, technology and society.

This book will be of interest to postgraduate students interested in Science and Technology Studies, History and Philosophy of Science, Sociology, Cultural Studies, Anthropology, Political Sciences, Future Studies and Literary Sciences.

This publication is a result of the international academic workshop Science Shaping the World of Tomorrow (2015).

Table of Contents

Introduction: Shaping the Future through Imaginaries of Science, Technology and Society - Gert Verschraegen and Frédéric Vandermoere

Part I: Shaping Human Nature
Chapter 1: Bioethics and the Legitimation/Regulation of the Imagined Future - Ari Schick
Chapter 2: The New Biology of the Social: Shaping Humans’ Future, Science, and Public Health - Jan Baedke
Chapter 3: Working Imagination along the Food-Drug Divide - Kim Hendrickx

Part II: Shaping Techno-Natures
Chapter 4: Competing, Conflicting and Contested Futures: Temporal Imaginaries in the GM Crops Controversy - Andreas Mitzschke
Chapter 5: Preserving Landscapes and Re-ordering Science-Society Relations: Imagining the Future in Transdisciplinary Sustainability Research - Thomas Völker
Chapter 6: An Automobile Nation at the Crossroads: Re-imagining Germany’s Car Society through the Electrification of Transportation - Alexander Wentland

Part III – Shaping Societies
Chapter 7: Parameters of Nation-ness and Citizenship in Belgium (1846-1947) - Kaat Louckx
Chapter 8: ‘Make me happy and I shall again be virtuous’: Science Fiction and the Utopian Surplus of Science - Tom Moylan
Chapter 9: Shaping New Horizons: Proactionary Attitudes, Precautionary Principles, and the Experimentalities of Science in Society - Matthias Gross

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