What About Your Futures, Technology Assessment?
An Essay on How to Take the Visions of TA Seriously, Motivated by the PACITA Conference
The visions of TA itself receive hardly any attention, although the field is variously engaged in the contests of sociotechnical futures in the making. In this essay we show, however, that TA is full of implicit and explicit visions of the future and that it enacts different relationships to these visions and the role they play in innovation and transformation processes. We outline the three ideal types “observer of visions”, “co-constructor of visions”, and “visioneer” to designate different modes how TA is dealing with visions of the future – by others and by itself. These ideal types may help to (dis-)entangle the different implicit and explicit TA visions in current TA practices and may serve as an orientation to develop a “visioneering TA” which strategically takes part in contesting futures through promoting visions. The essay ends with suggestions for TA to engage more seriously with its futures.
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