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Writing Future Worlds


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Table of Contents

Prologue: Atlantis and 1984.- 1. The ”One Big Thing” Quintet & Co.- 2. When pundits go global.- 3. Playing with maps.- 4. Side shows: Eurabia, MexAmerica.- 5. Reporting from the future.- 6. Contemporary habitats of meaning.- 7. Culture: between XL and S.- 8. Soft power.- 9. Scenarios from everywhere.

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"From the 'end of history' to the 'clash of civilizations', popular scenarios conceived by scholars and journalists have in the past decades stimulated the imagination of contemporary societies as much as they have revealed their anxieties. With his uniquely elegant style and subtle irony, Ulf Hannerz offers a penetrating anthropological reflection on this singular anticipatory genre that simplifies and dramatizes the representation of global tensions. Multiplying examples and crossing perspectives, he proposes an indispensable critical analysis of the way in which our worldviews are shaped." (Didier Fassin, Professor of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, USA) "With characteristically laconic but amiable barbs, Ulf Hannerz probes and dissects the generalizations about culture emanating from the 'pundits' - those self-appointed, often academically respectable experts on the cultural and political future of the globe, many of them American or focused on America's role, who variously pontificate about the imminent dissolution of the-world-as-we-know-it. Hannerz, a seasoned ethnographer with a pragmatic global vision grounded in the direct experience that many of the pundits lack, both recognizes their skill at dominating public debate and provides an effective antidote to the dangerous moral and cultural panic that their anthropologically naive thinking represents (and often triggers). This book deserves greater and longer-lasting prominence than those with which it engages." (Michael Herzfeld, Ernest E. Monrad Professor of the Social Sciences, Harvard University, USA)

About the Author

Ulf Hannerz is Professor Emeritus of Social Anthropology at Stockholm University, Sweden, and a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. A former Chair of the European Association of Social Anthropologists, he has taught at American, European, Asian, and Australian universities, and has carried out field studies in West Africa, the Caribbean, and the United States, as well as a multi-site study of the work of news media foreign correspondents. 


"This book is a thorough reflection on a rather new and influential genre in scientifically founded literature with real political impact: so-called scenario books. The author of this book is Ulf Hannerz, an internationally renown anthropologist from Sweden. ... Hannerz produced an important book, which give us a window for critical analysis of a vague and often 'covered' genre with scientific presences in the circuits of opinion making, which however penetrates ... in the highest levels of world power." (Rik Pinxten, Agorakring, agorakring.be, November, 2016)

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