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    Rights statement: The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, The Sociological Review, 65 (3), 2017, © SAGE Publications Ltd, 2017 by SAGE Publications Ltd at the The Sociological Review page: http://journals.sagepub.com/home/sor on SAGE Journals Online: http://journals.sagepub.com/

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Wicked futures: meaning, matter and the sociology of the future

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/09/2017
<mark>Journal</mark>The Sociological Review
Issue number3
Volume65
Number of pages15
Pages (from-to)478-492
<mark>State</mark>Published
Early online date1/02/17
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

Sociologists and futurists have come to see that 'fabrications' of the future as entirely open to being remade in the present have become more difficult to sustain in a complex and contingent world. Rather, new and more nuanced conceptualizations of the future are required. To contribute to that task, I draw inspiration from Rittel and Webber's 1973 paper in which they analyze social problems as 'wicked problems' to explore how sociologists have found the future to be difficult and tricky, both conceptually and empirically and have sought to overcome those difficulties through various analytical strategies. I discuss the onto-epistemological status of the future in sociology, tracing major shifts in theorizing of the future and suggest that what makes the future so wicked - so difficult and pernicious - is that it is an 'entanglement of matter and meaning'. In doing so, I draw on insights from STS (science and technology studies) and other fields of inquiry to propose a new conceptual language in which to do the sociology of the future.

Bibliographic note

The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, The Sociological Review, 65 (3), 2017, © SAGE Publications Ltd, 2017 by SAGE Publications Ltd at the The Sociological Review page: http://journals.sagepub.com/home/sor on SAGE Journals Online:
http://journals.sagepub.com/