How to Study the Future: Methods and Methodologies for Analyzing Imagined Futures from a Socio-economic Perspective
Jens Beckert and Lisa Suckert
The study of intangible ideas has always posed a serious challenge for the social sciences. This is especially true when these imaginaries concern the future. How can we investigate perceptions about something that has not happened yet? To answer this question, the project conducts an extensive literature review. By exploring existing research, also beyond the field of economic sociology, it aims to detect and categorize empirical settings, data sources, and methods that are capable of rendering imaginaries of the future tangible. The analysis of objectified perceptions of the future manifested in such things as buildings, stock indices, and prototypes will be one special focus of the study. The database generated by the project will serve both as a toolbox and a source of inspiration for further socio-economic research. The results will be presented in an English-language article that examines possible methods and methodologies for the socio-economic study of imagined futures. Project duration: September 2016 to July 2017.