Despite contemporary anthropology’s growing interest in ‘futures’, there has been an
absence of sustained dialogue concerning the vital role of anticipation in everyday
life. Seeking to bring much needed attention to the first-person perspective on
futurity, in this introduction to the special issue we situate anticipation within the
temporality of lived experience. Drawing on premises from anthropological studies
of experience (particularly phenomenological approaches), we frame the experiential
approach to anticipation by highlighting the parameters of its cross-cultural and
intercontextual variability. We argue that anticipatory experience provides a crucial
locus for ethnographic inquiry into the disparate and polysemous manifestations
of futures in everyday life. We then seek to demonstrate how anticipation thus
conceived may be productively integrated with numerous ongoing themes within
contemporary anthropological scholarship. Finally, we introduce the individual
contributions to the issue.
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