What is good survival

Live the future or survive?

Future laboratories as spaces of opportunity for a good life beyond contemporary society

The project too Future laboratories is devoted to current discourses and the associated performative practices of "future exploration" (Reckwitz 2016) and, using two exemplary fields in Germany, examines how civil society actors can find alternative futures for a good life beyond contemporary society and sometimes in opposition to state and economic ones Design infrastructures and institutions. The project takes up the desideratum formulated in interdisciplinary future research to empirically research not only ideas about the future, but also "future practices" (Reckwitz 2016):

Dr. Julian Genner analyzes in the case study "Surviving the future: Crisis imagination and precaution in the context of the prepper movement" Future practices of so-called preppers. This is a non-institutionalized movement whose followers focus intensively on different crisis scenarios with apocalyptic visions of the future - e.g. Partly mediated via popular media - prepare and thereby deny that political formations and state infrastructures are functional. The primary aim here is not to radically transform the state with its infrastructures, but to provide options for survival at the subject level after a potential collapse of state or market structures.

Ina Kuhn M.A. examined in the case study "In Search of the Good Life: Practices of Future Exploration at Utopia Festivals"how drafts for a good life are negotiated and tested performatively and discursively in the popular cultural format of the festival. Here, actors critically grapple with the economic and ecological challenges of the present, and also put new forms of social interaction (such as new forms of sexuality) up for discussion without wanting to transform society as a whole through political or activist demands. Rather, the festivals start with the respective subjective worlds of the participants and want to transform them.

The background to the project is the increasing erosion of political and social affiliations and the fragmentation of future plans for society as a whole, which have lost their cohesiveness in contemporary society. The project assumes that social actors have a multitude of options for reacting to this fragmentation. In addition, the project assumes that the investigated actors perpetuate the fragmentation at the same time. If the rise of populist figurations in many European countries is a possible reaction that lies within the logic of political structures, the project proposed here focuses on two forms that, in contrast, can be described as emergent, those on other modes of social organization and beyond that on popular cultural frameworks are based on:

Project management: Prof. Dr. Markus Tauschek and Dr. Julian Genner

Employee: Ina Kuhn M.A.

Funded by the German Research Foundation (duration: 2020–2023)