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Making Sense of the Future: How Anthropologists "See" It

Tuesday, 16:00 - 17:30 CET

We will explain how anthropology can add cultural richness to the field of foresight and future studies and allow for a more comprehensive understanding of how micro and meso phenomena and macro forces interact and may play out.


Through a “mobile” approach to sensemaking and knowledge, with examples from science fiction, COVID-19, and technology, we will show how engaging in intentional and strategic observation to challenge predominant assumptions, especially from big data, can illuminate different future(s) realities.  


We will discuss various perspectives, frameworks, and methodologies currently used in commercial, design, and anthropological environments.  We will demonstrate how to sense anomalies and weak signals, trace them, and compare them with past and present patterned behavior to gain understanding about shifts in practice and meaning to both explain them and anticipate their future paths.

Session contacts: Carsten Claus and Lucia Laurent-Neva

Session Contributors:

Lucia Laurent-Neva, Semiotician, Anthropologist and Cultural Strategist, Visual Signo, UK

Carsten Claus, Business and Future Anthropologist, OBERKORN, Hamburg, Germany

Dominique Desjeux, Anthropologist, Professor (Emeritus) at the Sorbonne (University of Paris), and International Consultant for Daiz and Co, Paris, France

Julia Gluesing, Anthropologist, Research Professor at Wayne State University, President Cultural Connections, Inc., Detroit, Michigan  USA

Allen Batteau, Anthropologist, Professor (Emeritus), Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan USA

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