The conference ‘Imagining the Future: Financial Capitalism and the Social Imagination’ is co-funded by the Institute of Advanced Studies under this year’s research theme of Planetary Futures. The convenors, Aris Komporozos-Athanasiou (University College London) and Chiara Bottici (New School for Social Research, New York), invite abstract submissions (up to 300 words) that explore the various ‘intersections’ between political, economic, and social imaginaries of financial capitalism. They are especially interested in theoretically driven approaches studying the role of different types of imagination in materially mediating currently experienced crises (economic, social, border, migration, etc.), through producing and legitimating dominant visions and narratives of the future.

Sessions within the conference will debate the role of social imagination in addressing different ‘intersections’: How do the fictitious operations of financial markets shape our perception of the future? Are they opening up or rather foreclosing radical imagination? How is debt shaping individual as well as state imaginable trajectories? How do contemporary technologies of the future proliferate through real-estate imaginations? What futures are inscribed by the merger of financial and populist imaginaries in the West?

Contributions are welcome that engage with the following themes, among others:

  • Social production of financial futures
  • Fictional expectations in financial markets
  • Economics and science fiction
  • Risk, debt, and futurities
  • Theorizing rationality/irrationality in financial crises
  • Fictitious capital
  • Future presents and present futures
  • Utopian/dystopian sociologies of finance
  • Political economy of sociological imagination(s)
  • Real-estate utopias/dystopias
  • Microcredit and neoliberal imagination
  • Feminist finance and economics
  • State debt and development
  • Empirical explorations of the social and/or financial imagination

The conference organizers will publish a selection of the papers as a special issue in Public Seminar and other prominent peer-reviewed journals.

Keynote Speakers
  • Professor Jens Beckert (Director of the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, Cologne)
  • Professor Ruth Levitas (Department of Sociology, University of Bristol)

More speakers to be announced

Date and Location of Conference

11 JULY 2017

University College London, Institute of Advanced Studies, IAS Common Ground, Ground Floor, South Wing, Wilkins Building, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT, United Kingdom