The Roots of Neglect: Towards a Sociology of Non-Imagination
Keywords:non-expectations, neoliberalism, strategic ignorance, complexity, crisis
The sociology of expectations has helped academics and policy analysts to understand how socio-technical imaginaries are not only hypothetical and “in the future”, but how they create realities in the present. They do so by shaping what gets funded, who gets hired, and even how people lead their lives as they consider some futures more likely than others. While this focus on the performative power of specific visions and expectations has been hugely important, there is another situation that has arguably been at least equally impactful on the present: the absence of (alternative) expectations of the future. It is the absence of specific imaginations of the future that people deem desirable that explains why, despite being fully aware of political and economic practices and arrangements that are detrimental for human and planetary health, we have not changed these arrangements.