Contemporary Futures: Perspectives from Social Anthropology by Sandra Wallman

By Sandra Wallman

In business societies imagining the longer term is a major company; our assumptions in regards to the destiny govern the current administration of household, nationwide and international assets, and are projected, a few might say inflicted, on societies whose visions are various. modern Futures focuses no longer lots on even if the longer term will be identified, yet on analyzing the way in which we and others photograph it. The members, all social anthropologists, discover the consequences that this photograph has at the current, on workforce identification and trust within the self and its survival, on our relations with different cultures, and at the destiny itself. they supply a cross-cultural standpoint on various futures visualised at the moment and discusses the consequences of

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What notion of future responsibility impelled an eighteenth-century pamphleteer to remind constitution framers they were ‘painting for eternity’ and so must be sure to get things right? (Jordan 1988:501). Mormons bent on the retroactive conversion of progenitors aim conscientiously to balance obligations to ancestors with legacies to descendants. In doing so they are not alone: rituals of stewardship in many societies constructively bind up past with future. Present-day concern with the past provides a cautionary model for views of the future.

Plumb assailed coercive precedent—the power of the past embedded in property, place and privilege. For centuries if not millennia this malign influence had ‘seeped through the interstices of society, staining all thought, creating veneration for customs, traditions and inherited wisdom’, and acting as a ‘bulwark against innovation and change’. That past was now dying, Plumb believed, and ‘so it should, for it was compounded of bigotry, of national vanity, of class domination’. It was being replaced by history—an objective chronicle of what had actually happened, creating ‘a new past as true, as exact, as we can make it’.

1981) The Third Wave, London: Pan Books. ——(1991) Power Shift, New York: Bantam. W. ) (1990) Cargo Cults and Millenarian Movements: Transoceanic Comparison of New Religious Movements, New York: de Gruyter. Turner, V. (1970) A Forest of Symbols: aspects of Ndembn Ritual, Ithaca: New York and London: Cornell University Press. Wagner, U. (1990) ‘The present in the future’, ASA Conference paper (typescript). Wallman, S. ) Perceptions of Development, London: Cambridge University Press. Fowler (eds) Female Hierarchies, Chicago: Aldine (AVC).

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