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Shermon Cruz
University Center for Research and Development
Northwestern University;
Center for Engaged Foresight

World S...
background, rationale, research question
research methods – futures triangle, scenario
archetypes, INSPECT method
key driv...
knowledge divides:
homogenous / singular

Closed
digitization:
Commercial

Open
digitization:
Public

knowledge multiplies...
What is the futures
of the social sciences
in the era of
digitization and social
transformations?
What are the
emerging tr...
What are the
possible, plausible
and preferred
social science
scenarios in the
year 2040?
What might the
social science
di...
Defining, vision, competing
images; leads us forward

Quantitative drivers of
change, the news
headlines, trends

Deep str...
Best possible
circumstances, transform

Game changers, wildcards

Current trends worsens

Status quo continues
scenarios are written narratives of alternative
environments designed to highlight the risks and
opportunities involved in...
Royal Dutch Shell
Rand Corporation
National Intelligence Council

World Economic Forum
Etc.
“The future is an asset, a resource, a narrative
waiting to be employed”
Sohail Inayatullah, 2013
Imagining/creating alternative futures could make
our present remarkable, significant
It used the proceedings of the 1999 and 2010
World Social Science Report and navigated the
World Wide Web for relevant and...
scanned possible futures using the Google
search, Google scholar, books, manuscripts,
visions, and other scenario document...
We narrowed our list and deliberated on its
importance and uncertainty
We identified the drivers based on our
assumption t...
not to ‘predict the future’ but rather to
anticipate events and leverage the changes
driving the field’s future
to offer a...
to challenge our fundamental assumptions,
probe received wisdom, reframe our visions and
liberate our attitude towards the...
There’s No Line on the Horizon: Push, Pushes and
Weights of Social Science Futures
setting the scene:

enter the world of 2040
University futures
Sustainability
epistemic complexity

digitization

Perception of the
future

Emerging technology
rebuilding the mosaic

damaged social sciences

multiplex conception

gaming the social sciences
“Modernity is the key theme and condition of the
social sciences…this situation has now become
global; even those who may ...
Social science course catalogue in 2040

Philosophy I, II and III
World History I, II and III
Civilizations I, II and III
...
“So what’s to be done now that big trouble has
finally arrived on so many fronts? To be brutally
honest, we have no idea a...
Unemployed social
scientists

Unequal degree of
internationalization

Budget cuts/ closure

Damaged
social
sciences

Knowl...
2040 Social Science Courses (Fragmented)
‘University’

‘Multiversity’

(singular, universal, individual oriented, homogeno...
“When I use a word,” Humpty
Dumpty said, in rather a scornful
tone, “it means just what I choose it
to mean—neither more n...
trans-disciplinary

open access

everywhere is
the center /
beyond the ivory
tower /pluralized

massive
increases and
dema...
“Video games are one step before a whole other
virtual universe”
Vin Diesel
Post-disciplinary

Aging

Spirituality

Occupied

Gaming

Open access

Gamed/virtualized

Transmedia

Robotics / Space
Dri...
Social Science Catalogue in a Gaming Scenario

Reality Engineering
Coding and Decoding
Home Economics
Iteration
Mapping
My...
- We have created plausible four alternative
social science future environments - rebuilding
the mosaic, damaged, multiple...
To change the future, we have to change the core narrative (Inayatullah,
2013)
Serves as a mental model, images of an alte...
Maraming Salamat!
(Thank you!)
What lies over the horizon? Scenarios to the Future of Social Sciences in the Era of Digitization and Social Transformation
What lies over the horizon? Scenarios to the Future of Social Sciences in the Era of Digitization and Social Transformation
What lies over the horizon? Scenarios to the Future of Social Sciences in the Era of Digitization and Social Transformation
What lies over the horizon? Scenarios to the Future of Social Sciences in the Era of Digitization and Social Transformation
What lies over the horizon? Scenarios to the Future of Social Sciences in the Era of Digitization and Social Transformation
What lies over the horizon? Scenarios to the Future of Social Sciences in the Era of Digitization and Social Transformation
What lies over the horizon? Scenarios to the Future of Social Sciences in the Era of Digitization and Social Transformation
What lies over the horizon? Scenarios to the Future of Social Sciences in the Era of Digitization and Social Transformation
What lies over the horizon? Scenarios to the Future of Social Sciences in the Era of Digitization and Social Transformation
What lies over the horizon? Scenarios to the Future of Social Sciences in the Era of Digitization and Social Transformation
What lies over the horizon? Scenarios to the Future of Social Sciences in the Era of Digitization and Social Transformation
What lies over the horizon? Scenarios to the Future of Social Sciences in the Era of Digitization and Social Transformation
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What lies over the horizon? Scenarios to the Future of Social Sciences in the Era of Digitization and Social Transformation

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The year was 2040 when the social sciences transformed into something really unrecognizable.

The social science catalogue now includes courses like coding and decoding, myth and magic, food futures, reality engineering, micropolitics, macrohistory and macrofutures, decolonization, re-creativity and re-invention, foresight studies, big history and galaxies, robotics and space sciences, spirituality and social transformations, etc. This was the tip of the iceberg. The climate of uncertainty and the explosive success of digital technology not to mention some game-changing events like the Occupy Wall Street, the discovery of the Higgs-boson like particle, the emergence of culture as driver of new economic growth among others continue to influence our ways of knowing and re-perceiving the social sciences.

Recently, many academics have speculated about the future of the social sciences. The shape of things to come will certainly come in a digitized content and more according to experts. This paper explored some scenarios on the futures of the social sciences. It tracked emerging developments and explored the possible, plausible, and preferred social science scenarios in 2040. It employed the futures triangle and archetypal scenario (business as usual, best case, worst case, outliers) methods developed by Sohail Inayatullah and Peter Schwartz respectively.The purpose of this paper is to anticipate events and leverage the changes shaping the future of the social sciences.

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What lies over the horizon? Scenarios to the Future of Social Sciences in the Era of Digitization and Social Transformation

  1. 1. Shermon Cruz University Center for Research and Development Northwestern University; Center for Engaged Foresight World Social Science Forum 2013 Palais De Congres Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  2. 2. background, rationale, research question research methods – futures triangle, scenario archetypes, INSPECT method key drivers / drivers of change / influencers scenarios to the future of the social sciences conclusion
  3. 3. knowledge divides: homogenous / singular Closed digitization: Commercial Open digitization: Public knowledge multiplies: heterogenous / plural
  4. 4. What is the futures of the social sciences in the era of digitization and social transformations? What are the emerging trends, the pulls, the pushes and weights that might limit or transform the future of the social sciences?
  5. 5. What are the possible, plausible and preferred social science scenarios in the year 2040? What might the social science discipline look like in those years? What lies over the horizon?
  6. 6. Defining, vision, competing images; leads us forward Quantitative drivers of change, the news headlines, trends Deep structures, barriers
  7. 7. Best possible circumstances, transform Game changers, wildcards Current trends worsens Status quo continues
  8. 8. scenarios are written narratives of alternative environments designed to highlight the risks and opportunities involved in specific strategic issues (Ogilvy, Schwartz, 1998) scenarios are written narratives of alternative environments designed to highlight the risks and opportunities involved in specific strategic issues(Glenn, 2013). Similar to writing a movie script (Schwartz, 1998).
  9. 9. Royal Dutch Shell Rand Corporation National Intelligence Council World Economic Forum Etc.
  10. 10. “The future is an asset, a resource, a narrative waiting to be employed” Sohail Inayatullah, 2013
  11. 11. Imagining/creating alternative futures could make our present remarkable, significant
  12. 12. It used the proceedings of the 1999 and 2010 World Social Science Report and navigated the World Wide Web for relevant and related print and digital texts (journals, books, articles, reports, essays, speeches, blogs) that explored and/or imagined (logical, critical and creative) the future of the social sciences.
  13. 13. scanned possible futures using the Google search, Google scholar, books, manuscripts, visions, and other scenario documents/report (print and digital) to peer into what the future could look like in 2040. INSPECT (innovations, nature, society, political, economic, cultural, technology) to scan and identify trends, drivers and emerging issues
  14. 14. We narrowed our list and deliberated on its importance and uncertainty We identified the drivers based on our assumption that they are the most significant shapers to the future of the social sciences. We organized them into constellations and were used as building blocks to create our four alternative social science future worlds.
  15. 15. not to ‘predict the future’ but rather to anticipate events and leverage the changes driving the field’s future to offer an alternative view and participate in the global conversation to create meaningful debates and engage social scientists, academics and practitioners to a broad range of futures questions and conversations
  16. 16. to challenge our fundamental assumptions, probe received wisdom, reframe our visions and liberate our attitude towards the future of the social sciences
  17. 17. There’s No Line on the Horizon: Push, Pushes and Weights of Social Science Futures
  18. 18. setting the scene: enter the world of 2040
  19. 19. University futures Sustainability epistemic complexity digitization Perception of the future Emerging technology
  20. 20. rebuilding the mosaic damaged social sciences multiplex conception gaming the social sciences
  21. 21. “Modernity is the key theme and condition of the social sciences…this situation has now become global; even those who may want to reject it or modify this predicament cannot avoid seeing themselves confronted with the modernist claim. Given its European and American roots, there is always the risk that this concern with modernity will be cast in parochial terms.” Peter Wagner, 1999
  22. 22. Social science course catalogue in 2040 Philosophy I, II and III World History I, II and III Civilizations I, II and III Ethics I, II and III Government and Politics I, II and III Self, Culture and Society I, II and III Social Science Inquiry I, II and III Classics of Social, Political and Economic Thought I, II and III Colonization and Western Civilizations Introduction to World Civilizations I, II and III Introductions to Linguistics I, II and III The Complex Problem of World Hunger Problems in the study of Gender, Sexuality Anthropology of Museums
  23. 23. “So what’s to be done now that big trouble has finally arrived on so many fronts? To be brutally honest, we have no idea and even less advice.” Richard Watson and Oliver Freeman, 2012
  24. 24. Unemployed social scientists Unequal degree of internationalization Budget cuts/ closure Damaged social sciences Knowledge/digital divides Lack of pluralism and foresight Donor driven/ brain drain Knowledge fragmentation
  25. 25. 2040 Social Science Courses (Fragmented) ‘University’ ‘Multiversity’ (singular, universal, individual oriented, homogenous, (diverse, plural, people oriented, heterogenous Eurocentric, positivist) indigenization, decolonized) Psychology Folk Psychology / Cross-cultural psychology Sociology Arabic Sociology / African Sociology / Chinese Sociology / Indian Sociology / Malay Sociology, etc. Philosophy Arabic Philosophy / Indian Philosophy / Chinese Philosophy / Malay Philosophy / African Philosophy, etc. Political Thought and Human Identity Arabic Thought and Identity / Indian Thought and Identity / Chinese Thought and Identity / Malay Thought and Identity / African Thought and Identity, etc. Universal Human rights Culture/Context based human rights / Standpoint Anthropology Europology
  26. 26. “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
  27. 27. trans-disciplinary open access everywhere is the center / beyond the ivory tower /pluralized massive increases and demands useful personal, policy, movements Great scopes
  28. 28. “Video games are one step before a whole other virtual universe” Vin Diesel
  29. 29. Post-disciplinary Aging Spirituality Occupied Gaming Open access Gamed/virtualized Transmedia Robotics / Space Driven
  30. 30. Social Science Catalogue in a Gaming Scenario Reality Engineering Coding and Decoding Home Economics Iteration Mapping Myth and Magic Micropolitics Macrohistory Futures Studies Video Literacy Play Photography Negotiation Translation Food Robotics Spirituality and Social Transformation Big History and Galaxies Decolonization
  31. 31. - We have created plausible four alternative social science future environments - rebuilding the mosaic, damaged, multiplex, gamed. - Backcasting method and futures wheel analysis must be applied to put more content and provide specifics/actionable items – policies, program of actions, outline to achieved a preferred/ aspired future (a survey, an FI or FGD is appropriate here) - The present is a conduit to the four alternative futures. Scenarios are dynamic, they are pathways to alternative futures
  32. 32. To change the future, we have to change the core narrative (Inayatullah, 2013) Serves as a mental model, images of an alternative future environments Culture eats strategy for breakfast (Inayatullah, 2013) . We have to analyze the future of the social sciences in multiple spaces / perspectives (scenarios at the local, regional is even better – contextual, grounded, situated). Not predictions but alternative narratives of social science futures Re-perceive the social sciences
  33. 33. Maraming Salamat! (Thank you!)

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