This theoretical introduction develops a conceptual argument stemming from the concept of ‘time-tricking’. Whilst most theories of time in anthropology develop a coherent definition of the nature of time – for instance, as ‘cyclical’ or ‘linear’ – I draw attention to a seemingly common metaphysical distinction in our temporal ontologies, that between the past and the future. This distinction allows me to do two things: first, I present two different versions of time-tricking, one focusing on references to time and particularly to the past, the other conceptualizing effects on the future; and then, second, I present the future as the main object of temporal agency. By developing the notion of ‘future-tricking’, I point to a specific kind of temporal agency which is based on metaphysical commitments heavily embedded in the present in politics, interests and possibilities.
Felix Ringel is Assistant Professor/Lecturer (Habilitationsstelle) at the University of Vienna, and works on knowledge, time and urban regeneration in mid-sized European cities. His publications on post-industrial shrinkage and the future include articles in the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, Critique of Anthropology and Focaal.