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Research Into Creating Compelling Visions of Alternative Futures

The current democratic systems have troubles dealing with global problems such as climate change, unsustainable economic development, and gender and racial inequality. Without compelling visions of alternative futures, it’s hard to address the multiple crises and risks of our time. The researcher network Alternative Future-Making aims to explore and develop new forms for how we can articulate and debate alternative futures.

The network is coordinated by Per-Anders Hillgren:

“If we don’t want the political visions to be dominated by populist dreams or outdated economical-political models, we need to articulate and debate alternative futures. This is what the Alternative Future-Making network sets out to do, through co-design and participatory processes.”

Previous research suggests that there are two very different paths for human development: Conventional Development and Great Transition.

The Conventional Development path supports sustainability through policy reform and traditional technology-driven development without any significant changes in the basic institutional elements and value systems.

The Great Transition path builds on a fundamental reassessment and change of lifestyle, values, and what is considered to be human well-being. Per-Anders Hillgren continues:

“We will take our point of departure in the Conventional Development/Great Transition distinction, without ignoring or denying that risks and compelling visions will be found within both these paths, and thus view both paths critically and constructively.”

The Alternative Future-Making network, which recently was awarded a university grant for researcher networks, has more than thirty members from four faculties. What they share is a specific interest in interdisciplinarity and in the integration of conceptualization, critique and practice. The research lab Medea will help coordinate the network, including hosting seminars and workshops, during 2017.