Conference Title: Limits of Knowing the Future
Conference location: Wroclaw, Poland
Conference dates: June 29-30, 2009 Abstract deadline: April 30, 2009
Contemporary praxis is putting increased pressure on science and scientists to support public institutions advancing a variety of private visions of multidimensional strategies of building the future. Particularly influential are societal needs at the highest developmental levels of civilization, disregarding both their dominating influences as well as the deleterious consequences they might have upon human existence. It is precisely these industrialized societies that are most economically, socially, and culturally developed civilizations, imposing models that are increasingly costly and risky to humanity. To assure the public of the need to maintain their tempo, it has been suggested that associated costs and risks will allegedly bring about substantial immeasurable benefits. These circumstances have contributed to the crisis currently underway, profoundly impacting economic dimensions of social life resulting in unanticipated but persistent forms of social unrest. We are thus faced with well-founded questions regarding the limits of the possibilities of designing the future using existing models for development.
Given these persistent political, economic, and social systemic failures, new pressures upon the social and other sciences have recently become apparent. It is no longer adequate to merely analyze phenomenon, but rather there is now increased pressure to engage in accurate projections legitimating the existing path for development outlining conditions to bolster these visions for the future. The decline in political and religious influences in these contemporary visions had resulted in a new role for the sciences as an important and demanding partner to design the processes necessary for implementing these civilization changes. The focus on economic development first and foremost, is placing a higher value upon forecast research outlining what to anticipate for the future. This might have an impact upon public perceptions and support for the value of scientific knowledge.
Can and should we be responsible for fulfilling such demands for the needs of social practitioners and policy analysts ? What ontological visions of the future could we create if we take on these challenges ? What methodologies might we deploy to enable the social sciences to breakthrough the limits of development theory ? Or do we embrace the limits to knowing the future as the inevitable constraints of the limits of methodology as well as the historic evolution of knowledge ? What effects do the goals of projection and forecasting have upon the legitimacy of qualitative and quantitative measures ? The conference hopes to attract papers and participants that explore these and many other themes associated with Future Studies. Students, emerging scholars, and work in progress is especially encouraged, as we are exploring long term interest in the expansion of Polish Future Studies within the World Future Studies Federation framework [http://www.wfsf.org].
Abstracts: 500 word abstract should be submitted electronically by April 30, 2009 to Prof. Danuta Zalewska [zalda@interia pl]
Papers: 10-20 page full text papers should be submitted by May 31, 2009 to Prof. Danuta Zalewska [zalda@interia pl].
Participation costs: Registration, beverages, scheduled group meals, and accommodation (for one evening) is PLN 600 zloty [approximately 200 Euro]. Without accommodation and meals including registration and beverages for the duration of the conference fees is PLN 200 zloty [app. 50 Euro].
Closing Party: Tickets for an optional Farewell Party including food and live music will also be available for 100 zloty.
Polish Future Studies [group in formation]
Dr hab. Danuta Zalewska
Prof. ndzw. UWr
Socjologii, Nauki, Wiedzy i Kultury
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