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  The Future as a Social Fact: The Analysis of Perceptions of the Future in Sociology

Beckert, J., & Suckert, L. (2021). The Future as a Social Fact: The Analysis of Perceptions of the Future in Sociology. Poetics, 84: 101499. doi:10.1016/j.poetic.2020.101499.

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 Creators:
Beckert, Jens1, Author              
Suckert, Lisa1, Author              
Affiliations:
1Soziologie des Marktes, MPI for the Study of Societies, Max Planck Society, ou_1214556              

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Free keywords: Temporality; Future; Aspirations; Expectations; Sociology of time; Sociology of knowledge
 Abstract: A small but growing share of sociological research recognizes the importance of perceptions of the future for explaining social outcomes. This article, taking a sociology of knowledge perspective, provides a systematic study of sociological scholarship dealing empirically with perceptions of the future. It is based on a qualitatively driven mixed methods analysis of 571 sociological research articles published between 1950 and 2019 and distinguishes between three clusters of scholarship: in the first cluster authors consider future orientations as either dependent or independent variable; in the second cluster they analyze the multifaceted ways in which actors imagine the future; and in the third cluster they are interested in the politically contested construction and diffusion of future orientations. By investigating these clusters, the article demonstrates how sociologists pay attention to future orientations in a broad spectrum of sociological fields, using a variety of methods and asking a wide set of questions about assessments of the future. The future is increasingly a realm of sociological analysis. We show how this field of research is structured and has developed over time. Elaborating on different facets of research that so far operate largely in isolation from each other, we aim to contribute to the development of the field. Sociology could benefit from more systematically integrating perceptions of the future – as they are reflected in actor expectations, aspirations, and future beliefs – into the discipline's empirical investigations and explanatory models and from integrating the existing knowledge on these issues better.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2020-09-292018-12-142020-10-012020-12-092021
 Publication Status: Published in print
 Pages: 21
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: 1. Introduction
2. The future in sociology
3. Mapping the development of a research field: data and methods
4. Emergence and growth of the research field
5. Diversification I: Empirical objects and sociological subfields
6. How is the future studied? The epistemological structure of the research field
7. Studying the future as a social fact: A three-clustered research field
7.1 Studying the future as a variable: The sources and effects of aspirations
7.2 Studying images of the future: What does the future look like?
7.3 Studying the contest for the future: How is the future constructed?
8. Diversification II: The emergence of the three research clusters
9. What journals? Important outlets of the research field
10. Conclusion and future research paths
Appendix
Acknowledgements
References
 Rev. Type: -
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1016/j.poetic.2020.101499
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Title: Poetics
Source Genre: Journal
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Pages: - Volume / Issue: 84 Sequence Number: 101499 Start / End Page: - Identifier: ISSN: 0304-422X
ISSN: 0048-4571
ISSN: 1872-7514