Reference : Building on anticipation: dystopia as empowerment
Scientific journals : Article
Social & behavioral sciences, psychology : Sociology & social sciences
Law, criminology & political science : Political science, public administration & international relations
Building on anticipation: dystopia as empowerment
Claisse, Frédéric mailto [Université de Liège - ULiège > Département de science politique > Gouvernance et société >]
Delvenne, Pierre mailto [Université de Liège - ULiège > Département de science politique > Gouvernance et société >]
Current Sociology
SAGE Publications
Yes (verified by ORBi)
[en] Dystopia ; Futures Research ; Narrative ; Anticipation ; Blurring of boundaries ; Empowerment
[en] A dystopia can be defined as the depiction of a dark future building on the systematic amplification of current trends and features. It relates to a complex narrative posture that relies on the critical observation of a threatening present that would lead to an apocalyptic future “if nothing was done.” Yet, however inescapable this future may be described, the very existence of such a narrative presupposes that the political community it tries to reach is actually able to do something to thwart it.
Oddly enough, a successful dystopia aims at making itself obsolete: once the world it depicts is identified as a possible (or even unavoidable) future, it seems to empower its readers again, restoring what Musil called a ‘sense of possibilities’ that eventually make alternative pathways thinkable. In our contribution, we propose to broaden the range of commonly accepted dystopists (usually fiction writers and novelists like e.g. George Orwell’s 1984) to sociologists like Ulrich Beck. Building on his Risk Society (1986), Beck’s strong diagnosis about the breakdown of First Modernity and the coming of Second Modernity contains a noticeable prophetic and evangelical overtone that aims at “reinventing politics.” We defend the notion that the dystopian posture can be used to characterize both fiction and nonfiction writers such as Orwell and Beck: a common ability, based on the same set of inextricably cognitive and normative patterns, to anticipate the future and eventually empower political communities to engage in further action.
Scientific and Public Involvement in Risk Allocations Laboratory (SPIRAL)
Researchers ; Professionals ; Students

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