All over Latin America, drug trafficking, the renewed exploitation and marketing of natural resources on a grand scale, the lack of economic opportunities, dramatic climate change and the corresponding natural disasters are threatening the survival of whole communities. Hopes and fears projected into the future heavily influence political and socioeconomic decision-making, cultural production and everyday practices, thus shaping social coexistence as a whole. Mass migration and social strife are responses to the continent’s diverse crises and problems. Its social, economic and political instability have deep historical roots, reflected in the structure of social and ethnic inequalities and in arduous processes of decolonization. The present threats posed to Latin American societies make it urgent to advance visions of the future, yet hegemonic Western ideas and concepts of development are not equal to the challenges of conflicting concepts and ideas of the future in an era of globalisation.
Our main research question is:
How do and how did the aspirations and anticipations of diverse actors shape and construct the temporalities of future in Latin America?
Consistent with this overarching inquiry, several sub-problems will be addressed:
How did aspirational and anticipative practices shape social life in Latin American history, and how do they do so in the present?
How do people interpret, shape and influence approaching uncertainties, unpredictable events and imponderable processes?
How do they act, in turn, when the future seems all too predictable and certain (surrender, just wait or fight)?
Who were and who are the protagonists defining the future? What projections into the future are made?
How do underlying processes influence aspirations and anticipations of the future?
How do different concepts of time interact or clash in the ethnically heterogeneous societies of Latin America?
What is the influence of global entanglements on temporalities of the future?