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  • Mark 10:52 pm on September 20, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: fiction   

    The Goods Yard, Kings Cross, London, UK 

    The Goods Yard, Kings Cross, London, UK
    10:13PM, December 3rd, 2026

    He tapped forlornly at the phone.

    It had been a while since it last offered a response. Since that comforting weight had pulsated through his hands, offering out a range of haptic possibilities which his body would instinctively know how to grasp for. It was now an expensive piece of inert synthetic metal, mockingly dormant in his hand. The universes of possibility once contained within it, ready to be brought to life with nothing more than a thought, instead collapsed into nothing more than a generic weight.

    It had been a long time since he had noticed the logos which saturated the square. Now they seemed like a cruel joke though. Darting around his field of vision, illustrating the outlines of the square, it was no longer possible to ignore them. Their movement round the square, seemingly random until you looked more closely and discerned the fractal dance which underpins it, couldn’t have been a sharper contrast to the useless piece of shit he held in his hands.


    He threw the useless phone to the ground as hard as he could. His evening was now ruined. In his mind, he rehearsed the chain of events that would begin tomorrow. Or perhaps tonight. These investigations were approached in such hushed terms, their subjects desperate to avoid drawing attention to what was near universally regarded as their irresponsibility. It was hard to know what was real and what was paranoia.

    Perhaps it might even be worse than the rumours suggested.

    “Well that’s a cheery thought”, he exclaimed to no one in particular as he reached to pull the tin from his packet. Leaning back into the bench, he tried to look on the bright side. Or at least as close to such a point as he could come. He carefully placed the tin on his knee, extracting a roll of cigarette paper from the device fixed on the inside of its lid. He took a tube from inside his tin, flicking the stylised switch on its rim before dispensing its contents into the fold of the paper with the nonchalance borne of habituation. He sighed loudly as he took the paper in his hands, accepting the situation he now found himself in as he rolled in between his fingers to produce the joint. He looked up at the night sky, taking the antique lighter from his pocket with silent amusement as he contemplated how terrifically fucking gaudy the giant Apple logo in the sky now appeared to him.

    He breathed deeply, feeling the tension flood from his body as the familiar warmth entered his lungs. It hit his bloodstream almost immediately. A pulsating warmth flowing through his body faster than his muscles could respond, a lightness that lifted him from his bench in the yard and pulled him upwards. But sadly not onwards. He remembered what this used to be like, in the old days… just because some people were too weak to exercise some fucking self control it was denied to everyone else. He’d been told once that it was possible to jailbreak the tubes, if you went to the trouble of stepping back from the grid before you did so. They retained the capacity to synthesise the ket-dust in its original form and the main obstacle was being caught evading the limit that had been legally inscribed in the device to dampen the effects of their products. Well that and the inevitable investigation by the National Tech when you were caught.


    It had been a brief moment of respite but he was once again fixated on the events of tomorrow. The alert had almost certainly been sent. That grey warning that everyone dreaded, alerting the please holder to the intrusion into their life that was mandated in the face of their irresponsible use. There was no way around it. Tomorrow was going to be shit. There was a hunger now to how he sucked on the joint, as he sought the relief he knew the dust could bring. With each breath in, the most of release retreated ever further from his mind. The echo of past experiences that were long lost. Perhaps he should try and jailbreak the fucking thing after all.

    His gaze returned to the smashed device in the centre of the yard. It wasn’t usually this quiet here, ever, but it was a disconcertingly cold night in London. He was aware that there was little more than the ket-dust shielding him from the artic winds and that the physical toll of the weather would still be felt tomorrow, even if any experienced discomfort was currently kept at bay by the thick narcotic cloud that enveloped him. It also dampened the feelings within him, placing him at a distance within himself, as if he was squinting at his own feelings through thick fog. But they were still there. The frustration, the irritation and the fear about tomorrow.

    He sighed once more, exhaling in a curiously melodious manner as the brick came down on the back of his head. The pain might otherwise have been sharp, but with the ket-dust it became a dull thud. What was more pronounced was the confusion, as he felt his legs buckle underneath him. He stuttered in confusion as his head hit the ground, dimly perceiving the disinterested gait of a pigeon in the square as the boot came down on his skull. Another dull thud as his vision blurred, confusion mounting as he felt the strikes multiply, covering his body in a dull paint that rapidly became as all-encompassing as the ket-dust and fog of introspection had been only minutes earlier. He writhed in pain, as the rising panic began to escape the haze of the narcotics, with the strikes continuing in ever-greater number. Then he hard an all-mighty bang and everything went quiet.

    Suddenly there was calm in the square. The pigeons had left to escape the commotion, emptying the yard of any life beyond the prostrate figure on the floor and the large men circling him in their strange uniforms. The rain had begun to fall as they stood around their object, lending an oddly ritualistic feel to their silent stance under the pale moonlight. Looking down pointedly at the man flat in the centre of their circle, the largest of the figures plucked a small rectangular artefact from his pocket and casually flicked it to the floor.

    It was time for them to go. As they calmly walked out of the square, the same man briefly looked behind him, noting with mild how the red stream emanating from the fallen man’s head was being dispersed around the square by the thickening rain.

    This was how things should be. What they had done was a practical matter. But it was also a performance.

  • Mark 5:22 pm on April 18, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: beckert, , fiction, ,   

    The consequences of our expectations 

    In his Imagined Futures, Jens Beckert suggests four ways in which fictional expectations make an impact on the social world:

    1. They coordinate actors by providing a common focus to their action
    2. They are able to shape the future by conditioning what action happens
    3. The freedom involved in fiction means they are not constrained by reality and are thus capable of stimulating innovation
    4. They motivate real decisions which have consequences on the distribution of resources and the projects which actors have to pursue and contest them, including the attempts to influence expectations because of the consequences they have.
  • Mark 9:55 pm on March 19, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: fiction, , ,   

    Call for papers: literature and sociology 

    This looks like it’s going to be a brilliant conference:

    CALL FOR PAPERS (deadline: 22 April 2019)

    The third culture? // Literature and Sociology

    University of Warwick (Coventry) – 14 June 2019

    In 1985 Wolf Lepenies argued that sociology should be considered a ‘third culture’ arising between science and literature. Contemporary discourses and research, however, show us that sociology and literature have a long history of peculiar relatedness.

    In 19th century Europe, sociology was considered both a competitor to and counterpart of literary study since consensus held that the two disciplines were best placed to analyse and depict the emerging industrial society. Figures like Balzac, Flaubert, Zola and Simmel hoped to merge literature and social science; while others (like Marx, Durkheim and Weber) drew inspiration from literary work in developing their early sociological masterpieces. Despite this history, the developing pan-European structure of knowledge with its prioritisation of empirical analysis prevented any extensive integration between the two fields (Longo 2015; Jacobsen, Drake et al. 2014; Wallerstein 2007).

    This conference seeks to renew collaboration between sociology and literature by addressing their disciplinary intersections and coalescences.

    From this starting point three inter-related dimensions emerge:

    Firstly, that literature may serve as a heuristic tool for sociological analyses, providing, if not a simplistic ‘reflection’ of social reality, then at least a plausible description or anticipation of human actions and social contexts. In this way some fiction can be understood as social theory (as with Balzac, Dickens, Houellebecq and Saramago); while some sociological accounts can be understood as pieces of literature, with a ‘literary imagination’ underpinning many sociological works (as with Denzin and Richardson).

    Secondly, in terms of cross-fertilisations, literary study has a long history of mining sociological theories and methodologies for the analysis of literary texts (as with Marxist literary studies and World Literature). More recently this has led to a rich sub-discipline that correlates literary forms and socio-economic processes via the work of Bourdieu and others. Literary theory, for its own part, has had a distinct impact on contemporary sociology, with the work of Said, Spivak and Jameson featuring prominently in sociology’s global or postcolonial turn.

    And finally, literary works have historically worked as agents to foster reflection and political action on contemporary social issues (as with the work of Sinclair, Roy and El Saadawi). In this way, the intersection between sociology and literature can be used to focus and reflect on social issues like migration, racism and exploitation, serving activist projects and stimulating interventions into public life.

    By reflecting on the productivity of these strands, we aim also to trace the difficulties and erasures which inhere as disciplinary objects are shifted and reconstituted, while bridging disciplinary parochialisms and reframing social and cultural issues beyond the confines of the university.

    Thematic sessions and presentation topics for this conference may include, but are not limited to:

    1. Theories of the intersections between sociology and literature

    2. Historical perspectives on the intersections between sociology and literature
    3. Sociological fiction
    4. Marxism and literature: contemporary perspectives
    5. Bourdieusian approaches to literary analysis
    6. Uses of literature and sociology that stimulate interventions into public life.

    Keynote speakers will be:

    • Professor Mariano Longo (Università del Salento – Italy)
    • Second keynote TBC

    We welcome both proposals for individual papers (20 minutes) and panels (1 hour/ 3–4 papers) that encourage a reflection on these intersections. Please send either a 250-word abstract for an individual paper proposal or a panel proposal of 900 words and a short biography to thirdcultureconference@gmail.com by 22 April 2019. Panel proposals should contain a brief description of the topic of the panel as well as the 3–4 abstracts that constitute the panel. Individual abstracts will be allocated a panel after review. Applicants will be notified by 26 April 2019.

    Delegates to the conference will be expected to fund their own travel and accommodation. Thanks to our sponsors – the ESRC-DTC (University of Warwick) and the Social Theory Centre (University of Warwick) – the registration to the conference is free.

    More information on https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/cross_fac/esrcdtc/news/literaturesociology

  • Mark 3:34 pm on January 22, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: fiction, ,   

    Are you interested in sociological fiction? 

    Are you interested in sociological fiction? Did you know there’s a new online home for it at The Sociological Review, edited by Ashleigh Watson? The first few pieces in our new section are online:

    See here for guidance about how to contribute to. We plan to have much more over the coming months and years.

  • Mark 7:04 pm on May 30, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , fiction, , , , , speculative fiction,   

    CFP: Imagining Radical Futures, Princeton Oct. 5th 

    An interesting CfP I’m saving for my future reference

    *Imagining Radical Futures: Anthropological Potentialities?*
    Princeton Anthropology Graduate Conference
    October 5th, 2018
    Princeton University

    *“The facts, alone, will not save us. Social change requires novel fictions
    that reimagine and rework*
    *all that is taken for granted about the current structure of society”
    (Benjamin 2016)*

    Anthropology has traditionally practiced restraint to speak only of what we know by virtue of “being there”. Anthropologists have embraced the limitations of knowledge while demonstrating the power of attention to the specific and the particular, to contest positivism and moralizing normativity. Increasingly, governments and corporations attempt to mobilize anthropological knowledge about social change, geopolitical events, sustainability and resilience as a predictive tool. Yet productive recognition of indeterminacy that anthropological theory and practice evokes opens doors to the imaginary, the hopeful, the potential, and the dreamed. This conference will explore the potential of non-predictive futures in anthropological thought and the methodological complexities of imagining futures from the present. The binary of “dark anthropology” and “anthropology of the good” (Ortner 2016) belies complexities and tensions in anthropological approaches to social change: anthropology can report, embody, employ, and open toward or against utopian ideals. What are the implications of imaginative fictions for interlocutors, ethnographers, and the discipline? What radical possibilities can anthropology’s fundamental questions about difference, relationality, and power open for us as we attempt to engage with futurity?

    We seek contributions from graduate students in anthropology whose work contributes to understanding imagined futures and extends the anthropological imagination. How can anthropology treat the imaginary as both a heuristic and a space of futurity? What social role can anthropology play in voicing potential futures otherwise? How can ethnographers engage differently with interlocutors’ imagined futures?

    Potential areas of inquiry include, but are not limited to, the following:

    • New technologies
    • Queering Progress
    • Novel Fictions/Anthrofictions
    • Nonhuman futures
    • Creativity and imagination
    • Climate and environment
    • Hope at the margins
    • Aging
    • Temporality of Markets
    • Policy

    Interested applicants should submit an individual abstract (250-300 words) in addition to brief biographies on or before July 1st to antcon@princeton.edu. Limited travel funds may be available TBD.

    Benjamin, Ruha. “Racial Fictions, Biological Facts: Expanding the
    Sociological Imagination through Speculative Methods,” Catalyst:
    Feminism, Theory, Technoscience: Vol 2, no. 2 (2016), 1-28.
    Ortner, Sherry B. “Dark Anthropology and Its Others: Theory since the
    Eighties.” HAU : Journal of Ethnographic Theory: Vol 6, no. 1
    (2016): 47–73.

  • Mark 6:25 pm on February 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , drabbles, fiction, micro-fiction, , ,   

    A call for sociological micro-fiction! 

    I’m once again editing a section on sociological micro-fiction for Ashleigh Watson’s wonderful So Fi zine. See here for full details about how to submit. There’s lots of inspiration to be found in the last issue, collecting a wonderful selection of sociological fiction of 100 words or less.

  • Mark 9:26 pm on November 11, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: #NaNoWriMo, , fiction,   

    Things I learned from trying and failing at #NaNoWriMo 

    I admitted defeat this evening, ten days into NaNoWriMo. I fell well behind my target this week, leaving me in a position where I’d have to write 2000 words a day to finish the book. The fact I failed to write anything today means that number has only increased. The last two weeks of this month will be absurdly busy. I’ll be doing five talks, visiting four places and will only be at home for five days. Given I’ve struggled to meet my target up till now, I just don’t see the point in making myself miserable by trying for the rest of the month when it clearly won’t happen. Here are some things I’ve learned from the attempt:

    • I need time to mull over the plot for fiction, whereas ideas for non-fiction flow reliably as long as I’m reading, talking and blogging widely.
    • Whereas I can write non-fiction to a passable standard whatever psychological or physical state I’m in, it’s hard to write fiction unless I’m in a good mood and well slept. I usually have the former condition these days but the latter is much rarer in my life, unfortunately.
    • The word target for NaNoWriMo was a great motivating force when I was meeting my daily target of 1,666 words. But once I’d fallen behind, it started to really stress me out. I was writing to meet the target rather than to help a story unfold, exasperating the aforementioned difficulties with writing fiction unless I’m attentive to the plot and in a mood to enjoy what I’m doing.
    • You have to block out time for this. I have to at least. I’d expected to be able to write fiction in a quasi-automatic way, as per my academic writing. But I’m realising it’s a rather different craft, requiring a lot more care than academic writing. I just didn’t have the time and energy this month to give it the care it needed and this is why the project has gone off the rails. Whereas I can usually fit 90% of the academic writing process around the rest of my life, with dedicated blocks of time only needed for serious editing and preparations for submission.
    • I’m usually conscious of how Twitter intersects with my dispositions to form a machinery of distraction but trying to write fiction really intensified that awareness. Twitter leaches mental energy in a way that I’m coming to find profoundly unnerving.

    It was a useful experience and I’m definitely going to try again next year. Though it remains to be seen whether my post-Brexit cyberpunk techno-fascist police thriller will be the foundation for something real or a faltering first attempt at serious fiction writing.

  • Mark 11:05 am on September 11, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , fiction,   

    An obscenity on the district line 

    Another drabble, based on a scene I witnessed on public transport this weekend:

    He couldn’t avert his gaze, nor could he stand to watch. The obscenity gripped him, drew him forward and out of himself. Sliding forward on the edge of his seat, he forced his feet flatly onto the floor of the tube.

    With one last guileless turn of the tie, he could take it no longer. Leaping forward, he grabbed the tie of the man opposite and took charge of the process. Realising what he had done, he (belatedly) offered his help. Unsure what to make of the intrusion, the two young men meekly agreed, confused and amused in equal measure.

  • Mark 3:16 pm on September 1, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , fiction, , , , ,   

    Sociological micro-fiction 

    I encountered the notion of the drabble through reading Rob Kitchin’s fiction blog. These short stories of exactly 100 words can have a strange power to them, as little shards of reality that can be thrown out into the world. This is how Wikipedia describes the origins of the drabble:

    The concept is said to have originated in UK science fiction fandom in the 1980s; the 100-word format was established by the Birmingham University SF Society, taking a term from Monty Python‘s 1971 Big Red Book.[1][4] In the book, “Drabble” was described as a word game where the first participant to write a novel was the winner. In order to make the game possible in the real world, it was agreed that 100 words would suffice.

    There are other forms of micro-fiction. One that interests me is the radical brevity required to represent a scene within the 140 character limit of a tweet. Even more than a drabble, this precludes narrative in a traditional sense and that’s precisely what’s so interesting about it for sociological fiction. It frees the fiction from the narrative demands which might otherwise conflict with sociological concerns, allowing little fragments to be produced which can have a life of their own.

    This is one example I wrote earlier in the week, intended to illustrate a theoretical point without invoking theory, though I’m not convinced it does this particularly effectively:

    His jaw clenched as he contemplated yet another all nighter.

    It was difficult to remember when he’d last slept properly. But his work, the work, couldn’t wait.

    Throughout each day, each and every hour, millions of communiques were issued from this control room. Each issuing was important, with potential geopolitical consequences. Not something one could rush. Yet there were always more issuings to come.

    He wondered how life might have been if he’d turned down the Neoliberal Diktat Division. But who would do that? The system could not run itself.

    He reached for an energy drink from the office fridge.

    But I’m finding it really fun to experiment with this. If you’d like to join me, I’m guest-editing a special section of the So Fi zine presenting sociological drabbles. The deadline for submissions is September 30th.

  • Mark 1:13 pm on May 26, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: fiction, , social science fiction, ,   

    Sociology and Fiction: a @thesocreview Special Feature 

    I think this is come out really well. Get in touch if you’d like to contribute something further:


  • Mark 3:20 pm on April 24, 2016 Permalink
    Tags: fiction, , science fiction   

    ‘Economic Science Fictions’ – call for essays 

    This looks fantastic. Considering whether to submit a proposal:

    The newly established Goldsmiths Press will be publishing a collection of essays on the topic of ‘economic science fictions’. The volume will be edited by Will Davies, Co-Director of PERC, and encompass various disciplinary perspectives, writing styles, including fiction and non-fiction. This builds on PERC’s launch event, at which Professor Ha-Joon Chang spoke on the topic ‘what can economics learn from science fiction?‘.

    We are inviting proposals for additional contributions to this volume. Proposals should be no more than 300 words, and offer an overview of what the chapter will explore, what style and approach it will adopt, and which of the themes outlined below it will address. We particularly welcome contributions from designers and design theorists which reflect on how economic institutions are amenable to (re)design. If you are interested in contributing, please email Will Davies with an outline by 20th May. If proposals are accepted, full drafts will be required in late September.

    About the book

    Contemporary capitalism suffers from a grave shortage of alternative futures. While the dominant models of markets, of property, of money, of regulation no longer inspire much confidence, let alone enthusiasm, our contemporary fate is to repeat them regardless. Blank repetition of the status quo signals a society without the capacity to exercise economic imagination or economic design. The function of debt is precisely to ensure that such possibilities remain unexplored, creating bonds to the past, rather than blueprints for the future.

    What we lack is ‘economic science fiction’, that is, the capacity to inject a modernist design ethos into institutions and practices which have come to feel permanent. This may also enable us to reconsider the present as the effect of past ‘science fictions’, and the on-going fictions as repeated by economists, financial services, accountants and managers. This is not simply about the need to revive utopian thinking, but also about the value of prosaic acts of institutional re-design, which go on in everyday situations. It is also about the need to open up the expert discourse of economics to a broader range of voices and styles, and to explore the overlap between economic ‘science’ and economic ‘fiction’. And it is an effort to re-capture the meaning of economic ‘creativity’ from its repetitive business usage.

    This collection will bring together around 15-20 short chapters (circa 2,000-5,000 words each) from contributors inside and outside of Goldsmiths, from across economics and other social sciences, and also from creative and artistic spheres, such as creative writing and design.

    Chapter topics could include:

    • What is ‘economic science fiction’?
    • Orthodox economics as a ‘science fiction’
    • Designing alternative futures: what do economic blueprints look like?
    • The art of writing an ‘economic science fiction’
    • Enclaves of utopian thinking: where (and by whom) will economic science fictions be crafted?
    • Alternative currencies or alternative property rights as ‘economic science fictions’
    • Postcapitalist organisations as ‘economics science fictions’
    • Economic science fictions of the past: excavating dead utopias
    • Prosaic acts of everyday fiction-building

    Ha-Joon Chang’s PERC lecture will be included. We can also confirm contributions from Miriam Cherry, Mark Fisher, Judy Thorne, Owen Hatherley, amongst others.

    Contributors are encouraged to write for a general readership and to explore ideas and opinions from a diversity of cultures and standpoints.

    About the editor

    Will Davies is a Senior Lecturer in Politics at Goldsmiths and Co-Director of the Political Economy Research Centre. He is author of The Limits of Neoliberalism: Authority, Sovereignty and the Logic of Competition (Sage, 2014) and The Happiness Industry: How the Government and Big Business Sold Us Wellbeing (Verso 2015). He blogs at http://www.potlatch.org.uk

  • Mark 3:14 pm on April 11, 2016 Permalink
    Tags: , fiction, ,   

    Sociology and fiction: a round up of the @thesocreview project so far 

    1. Imagining Futures: From Sociology of the Future to Future Fictions
    2. The Future Perfect
    3. Writing Fiction and Writing Social Science
    4. Life Chances: Co-written re-imagined welfare utopias through a fictional novel
    5. Patricia Leavy on Social Fictions
    6. Showing, not telling: some thoughts on social science and (science) fiction
    7. Liars, Damn Liars, and Sociologists
    8. You wake up and suddenly, a story is right in front of you
    9. Telling stories to help understand what sociology is about
  • Mark 4:34 pm on March 22, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , fiction, ,   

    An introduction to Design Fiction for Sociologists, May 13th at Goldsmiths 

    Design fiction is a term first coined by Julian Bleecker and popularized by SF author Bruce Sterling, who describes it as “the deliberate use of diegetic prototypes to suspend disbelief about change.” and that it “attacks the status quo and suggests clear ways in which life might become different.”

    Design fiction isn’t science fiction, it’s not just a telling of stories in the future or trying to make predictions of the future, instead it is a way of trying to envision and interrogate possible futures based on research data, current trends, and/or technologies. Originally, primarily used by product designers as a cheap alternative to prototyping new products, it has found traction as a critical tool allowing us to see through the fog of hype and digital evangelism. 

    In this event Tim Maughan introduces design fiction for sociologists. He discusses the work he is undertaking with Sava Saheli Singh (New York University) and its possible implications for how we write about research.

    Keith Kahn-Harris will discuss his new project which looks at how kinds of mainstream texts other than science fiction also generate ’social science fictions’, often ‘accidentally’ as a result of the pragmatic requirements of generating workable plots and scenarios. Such texts can help force attention to a neglected sociological question: what are the limits of possibility in human society?

    Sarah Burton will also speak on a topic to be finalised.

    Les Back and Mark Carrigan will each offer a short response before the event is opened up for a general discussion.

    Eventbrite - Design Fiction for Sociologists

  • Mark 8:15 pm on March 16, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , fiction, , ,   

    Using fiction to write about your research 

    I was fortunate to meet Tim Maughan at the Digital Sociology conference in New York last month. Along with Sava Saheli Singh, he’s been exploring how design fiction can be used to communicate sociological ideas. This is how Sava and Tim describe design fiction:

    Design fiction is a term first coined by Julian Bleecker and popularized by SF author Bruce Sterling, who describes it as “the deliberate use of diegetic prototypes to suspend disbelief about change.” and that it “attacks the status quo and suggests clear ways in which life might become different.”

    Design fiction isn’t science fiction, it’s not just a telling of stories in the future or trying to make predictions of the future, instead it is a way of trying to envision and interrogate possible futures based on research data, current trends, and/or technologies. Originally, primarily used by product designers as a cheap alternative to prototyping new products, it has found traction as a critical tool allowing us to see through the fog of hype and digital evangelism. 

    I find this idea really exciting and I invited Tim to give a talk when he visits London. If you’d like to come then you can register here. It’s a free event that will take place at Goldsmiths on the afternoon of May 13th. I’ll be talking, as will Les Back, Keith Kahn-Harris and Sarah Burton.

    Eventbrite - Design Fiction for Sociologists

    In the meantime, here’s a great example of the work produced by Tim:

    For a workshop on future London, five individuals — Arup, Social Life, Re.Work, Commonplace, Tim Maughan and Nesta—created 10 Future Londoners for the year 2023. This is a short fictional piece describing the working day of 19 year old Nicki, a zero hours retail contractor.


    Here’s an example of what Sava and Tim have worked on together:

    People talk about the future of technology in education as though it’s right around the corner, but most of us get to that corner and see it disappearing around the next. This innovation-obsessed cycle continues as we are endlessly dissatisfied with how little difference these promises make to the people implicated in these futures. These products and practices, cloaked in the latest buzzwords and jargon, often trickle down to non-western geographic regions after they’ve been tried and rejected, yet still adopted as the new and advanced “western” methodology that will solve the “problem” of education.

    In an attempt to cut through the relentless TED Talk-like optimism of ed tech marketing, this year at the HASTAC conference in Peru we presented a series of fictional case studies. These four design fiction based personas aimed to illustrate the possible impact on society and education, in both positive and negative ways, of not just emerging technologies but also global social and economic trends. They give brief snapshots of the lives of individuals in imagined futures from different geographic, ethnic, economic, and cultural backgrounds, illustrating how each of them might interface and interact with the different technologies.


    • E. Scott Denison 12:04 pm on March 18, 2015 Permalink

      Wish I was going to be in London. As for the origin of the term I think we have to give first use to Sterling who actually coined the term “design fiction” in his 2005 book Shaping Things.

      “Design fiction reads a great deal like science fiction; in fact, it would never occur to a normal reader to separate the two. The core distinction is that design fiction makes more sense on the page than science fiction does… It sacrifices some sense of the miraculous, but it moves much closer to the glowing heat of technosocial conflict” (Sterling, Shaping Things 30).

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