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Sarah Pink and John Postill

In this article, we propose a mode of anthropology that reflects on possible and imagined futures and how we might access these through a focus on mundane everyday activity. In doing so, we mobilise a design anthropological approach, drawing on

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Experiencing Anticipation. Anthropological Perspectives

Christopher Stephan and Devin Flaherty

. Indeed, Arjun Appadurai (2013: 5) has argued that anticipation will be an essential analytic lens for understanding ‘the ways in which humans construct their cultural futures’. The literature on anticipation within anthropology has thus far remained

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Home and Away

The Politics of Life after Earth

Micha Rahder

human mastery over nature. Space programs are increasingly privatized, with tech entrepreneurs leading the way to extraterrestrial futures. I refer to these projects, often framed as a necessary step in human social and evolutionary history, as in search

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Emptiness and its futures

Staying and leaving as tactics of life in Latvia

Dace Dzenovska

the emptying countryside. 3 During this period of postcrisis austerity, talk of emptiness and its futures dominated many conversations and took on special urgency, even a tone of despair. People across Latvia’s cities, towns, and villages reported

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Trading Futures

Sadaqah, social enterprise, and the polytemporalities of development gifts

Tom Widger and Filippo Osella

In this article, we explore what happens when idea(l)s of Islamic charity (sadaqah) and social enterprise converge within a low-cost public health clinic in Colombo, Sri Lanka. For both the clinic’s wealthy sponsors and the urban poor who use it, interpreting the intervention as a pious expression of care toward the poor or as a for-profit humanitarian venture meant extending different futures to the poor. The ambiguous temporalities of gifts and commodities anticipated by benefactors and beneficiaries involved in this challenges anthropological assumptions concerning the marketizing effects of neoliberal development interventions. Our ethnography revealed a hesitancy among the clinic’s sponsors, managers, and users to endow the intervention with a final interpretation, undermining its stated goal of promoting health care privatization and “responsibilization” of the poor.

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Franziska von Verschuer

of certain desired or possibly promising genetic traits—resources for breeding—agrobiodiversity conservation makes certain futures possible while impeding others. As I have demonstrated, paradoxically, this also conserves the possibility conditions of

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Memory, imagination, and belonging across generations

Perspectives from postsocialist Europe and beyond

Haldis Haukanes and Susanna Trnka

The last two decades have witnessed a phenomenal expansion of scholarly work on collective memory. Simultaneously, increasing anthropological attention is being paid to collective visions of the future, albeit through a range of disparate literatures on topics including development, modernity and risk, the imagination, and, perhaps ironically, nostalgia. In this introduction to this special section, we bring together analyses of postsocialist visions of pasts and futures to shed light upon the cultural scripts and social processes through which different temporal visions are ascribed collective meaning, employed in the creation of shared and personal identities, and used to galvanize social and political action.

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Fossilized Futures

Topologies and Topographies of Crisis Experience in Central Greece

Daniel M. Knight

, intergenerational, and nationalized histories in order to render present conditions bearable or overcomable and to construct possible futures in the midst of chronic turmoil ( Knight 2012a: 357 ; 2015a ). Taking inspiration from Michel Serres’s (1995a) work on

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Amy Binning

away, the cataclysms that are its calling card could strike at any moment. Thus, there remains an element of temporal balancing—a reckoning of imminent and far distant futures in this temporal landscape in which the far distant future is repeatedly

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Sicilian Futures in the Making

Living Species and the Latency of Biological and Environmental Threats

Mara Benadusi

Discourses and practices of anticipation occupy a hypertrophic space in contexts where uncontrolled industrial growth has inflicted grave damage on peoples and territories, even triggering environmental disasters. This article explores the use of nonhuman species as anticipatory devices in a petrochemical terminal in Sicily, focusing on public representations of three species: scavenger bacteria that play a cleansing role and underline citizens’ moral responsibility to secure their best possible futures through bioscience; migrating flamingos that breed under the petrochemical chimneys, raising the possibility of hopefulness by highlighting ecosystem resilience; and fish affected by spina bifida, which reveal human health status in advance, communicating the need to live in preparation for potential diseases. The analysis reveals the highly contentious character of these anticipatory devices and the contested ideas about possible futures they imply, thus shedding light on the ecological frictions that have repercussions locally and globally, in discourse and social practice.