Designing futures: an ethics of the possible by Arjun Appadurai

In this interview we talk to Arjun Appadurai about his interest, as an anthropologist, in the future as a subject, about the role of design in shaping peoples' futures and the prominence of technology in the digital contemporary world.

Never before in human history has the concern with potential failure and the effort to pre-empt and anticipate it in everything we use, never has it been so much part of design.

Arjun Appadurai
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Arjun Appadurai is a world-renowned expert on the cultural dynamics of globalisation, having authored numerous books and scholarly articles. The nature and significance of his contributions throughout his academic career have earned him the reputation as a leading figure in his field. His latest book The Future as Cultural Fact: Essays on the Global Condition (Verso: 2013), was an important point of reference to the intellectual reasoning of the exhibition The Future Starts Here, in which he acted as a consultant.

Appadurai is a prominent contemporary social-cultural anthropologist, the Goddard Professor in Media, Culture and Communication at New York University, where he is also Senior Fellow at the Institute for Public Knowledge. He serves as Honorary Professor in the Department of Media and Communication, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, Tata Chair Professor at The Tata Institute for Social Sciences, Mumbai and as a Senior Research Partner at the Max-Planck Institute for Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Gottingen. He has held various professorial chairs and visiting appointments at some of the top institutions in the United States and Europe. In addition, he has served on several scholarly and advisory bodies in the United States, Latin America, Europe and India.

Header image:

Technology in Bed: 'Alone together', Hanif Shoaei, 2014. Courtesy of Hanif Shoaei