Message posted on 13/02/2024

CfA Futures SI deadline extension 'Anticipatory practices at the intersections of innovation, policy and society'

Dear EASST members,

A month ago I shared the following call. While the EU-SPRI conference call has closed last week, the call for abstracts for the Special Issue in Futures has been prolonged to February 29, 2024 as due to technical issues it has been put on the journal website only recently.

CfP FUTURES Special Issue: Anticipatory practices at the intersections of innovation, policy and society

Guest Editors: Kornelia Konrad, University of Twente, Andreas Lsch, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Sergio Uruea, University of the Basque Country UPV/EHU & University of Twente

The need for sociotechnical transformations of contemporary societies is widely accepted and anticipatory practices are proliferating as enablers of such transformations in various settings and for different goals (e.g., new and emerging technologies, energy transition, digital transformation, urban sustainability, climate change, and many more). Anticipatory practices are typically enacted in order to explore possible directions for change and their implications, to orientate decisions and actions, to cultivate reflection and "futures literacies," and/or to support the coordination of the heterogeneous groups that need to be involved - be it in the form of foresight and technology assessment projects, modelling approaches, roadmaps, integrative research, transdisciplinary experiments, and many other formal and informal practices. While some anticipatory practices are conducted mainly by and for a specific societal or expert group, they often take place at the intersections between different societal spheres, aiming to connect various innovation, policy and societal actors.

A burgeoning variety of methods and tools, as well as less formalized practices, support and channelize anticipatory processes at different levels of governance. While some methods and practices find support and materiality in institutions and/or regulatory structures (e.g. forms of modelling in risk governance, energy or climate policy), others are of a more localized and temporary nature (e.g., foresight projects, events or interventions). Even if not formally institutionalized, certain anticipatory practices such as scenario and assessment methods are more common and legitimate in some societal domains and communities than others. Thus, they are typically not equally attuned to the diverse set of values, interests, reasoning and communication styles, frames, decision-making procedures, timelines, etc. of the various societal actors and contexts involved. Thus, choosing for one or the other method or practice may also imply the in- or exclusion of certain societal actors. Practices may also be more or less rigid, making it more or less difficult to adjust to different contexts and groups. Accordingly, facilitators working at local/micro levels are often confronted with challenges of how to design and conduct anticipatory interventive practices in such a way as to create anticipatory spaces that are open for all of the actors concerned, but at the same time can be linked to the modes of decision-making and action prevailing in the contexts of the participating actors. For example, anticipatory practices with transdisciplinary audiences conducted in local projects might work quite well on the local level but are more difficult to connect to national or transnational policy modes of anticipatory governance.

While the challenges and obstacles of working with futures at intersections are commonly acknowledged by experts and professionals in a variety of fields (e.g., STS, Technology Assessment, Futures Studies), it is less common to bring together studies that range from the project level to the community, institutional, and structural governance levels. In this special issue, we want to explore an anticipatory practice lens. This perspective urges us to examine elements such as materials, competencies, and meanings in practices, as well as the degree to which these elements are embedded or institutionalized in specific social groups and settings. Through this exploration, we aim to deepen our understanding of the challenges inherent in conducting anticipatory practices at the intersection of innovation, policy, and society. In doing so, we aim to connect insights derived from studies that focus on the micro level (e.g., on concrete anticipatory projects) with those that focus on the meso or macro level (e.g., on established anticipatory practices within the governance of innovation and socio-technical transformation). In unraveling these (dis)alignments we aim to generate insights for practitioners, just as to enhance our understanding of the role of anticipatory practices within the broader politics and governance of and by anticipations.

We invite papers, either empirical or conceptual, that help to better understand the uses, roles and (mis)matches of anticipatory practices at these crossroads, the related conceptual and practical challenges they pose, and explore approaches to cope with them.

In particular, papers may address the following or related questions:

   How do anticipatory practices at the intersection of innovation,

policy and society differ between or need to take account of different contexts, cultures, and institutional settings? What tensions arise when anticipatory practices are used in new settings? How can/should anticipatory practices be designed, curated, and implemented to be more responsive to different contexts, cultures, and institutional settings?

   How do anticipatory practices enable and constrain interconnections

between the spheres of innovation, policy and society at the micro, meso, and macro levels? Which (f)actors may facilitate this interconnecting role?

   How do anticipatory practices shape the intersections and governance

across the spheres of research, development, innovation, policy frameworks and societal participation? And how are anticipatory practices institutionalized, regulated and governed, within or across different spheres?

   How has the role of anticipatory practices at the intersections of

innovation, policy and society changed over time?

   What cultures of anticipation and types of anticipatory practices are

prevalent at the intersections of innovation, policy and/or society, and whose voices and concerns are made (in)visible through them? We also welcome studies that investigate the specific 'anticipatory cultures' of societal and professional groups and contexts, especially if these include a reflection on how these 'anticipatory cultures' enable and constrain communication between different actors from innovation, policy and society spheres.

Deadlines and submission guidelines

Interested parties should send an abstract of 300-400 words to, and by February 29, 2024. Authors will be informed of acceptance in March. Full papers should be submitted to FUTURES by September 1, 2024. Submissions before the deadline will enter the review process earlier. Individual papers will be published online first as soon as they are accepted and ready for publication.

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