Publication by Andreas Mitzschke

The edited volume ‘Imagined Futures in Science, Technology and Society‘ emerged from the workshop with Sheila Jasanoff at the University of Antwerp in 2015. Based on his PhD research, Mitzschke argues in his chapter ‘Competing, Conflicting, and Contested Futures: Temporal Imaginaries in the GM Crops Controversy’, for greater attention to the temporal dimensions in the study of visions about socio-technical change.

Imagined Futures in Science, Technology and Society by Routledge

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.

In his contribution to this edited volume, Andreas Mitzschke investigtes the controversy about the risks and benefits of genetically modified (GM) crops through the lense of ‘socio-technical imaginaries’ (Jasanoff). He shows how the debate about the risks of GM crops entails conflicting and contested visions about how this technology might shape the future of society. Drawing on qualitative empirical research on the GM crops debates in India and Europe, Mitzschke shows how the concept of ‘sociotechnical imaginaries’ allows addressing the competing normative dimensions of these debates. Further, Mitzschke argues that imaginaries about a future with or without GM crops can be better understood by considering the temporal dimensions in which they embed. A focus on temporal relations between past, present, and future provides us with different historical perspectives on visions of socio-technical change.

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