Oct 05, 2016
Imagination, Anticipation,and Governance: The Politics of the Future in Global Security and Beyond
Dr. Liam Stockdale
A notable feature of contemporary life is the growing fixation on managing the unfolding of the future, so that the potential for an increasingly wide array of imagined catastrophes can be actively foreclosed. This broader trend has fueled the proliferation of explicitly anticipatory modes of societal governance, with significant implications for the way political power is organized and exercised. Focusing on the post-9/11 global governance of (in) security, this talk will critically explore these implications and consider what is at stake with the ongoing emergence of this ‘state of pre-emption’, particularly in the context of the liberal democratic politics at the forefront of the trend. The core claim to be explored is that the imperative to tame a radically uncertain future prioritizes the imagination in political decision-making, which in turn grants sovereign authorities a radically enhanced degree of discretion reminiscent of the proverbial state of exception. The discussion will conclude by considering how we may be moving beyond this pre-emptive paradigm toward other ways of governing the future—notably through notions of “resilience”—which in turn bring their own considerable social, political, and ethical baggage.
Moderator: Dr. Susie O’Brien
About the Speaker
Liam Stockdale is a postdoctoral fellow at the MacPherson Institute for Leadership, Innovation, and Excellence in Teaching, McMaster University. He holds a Ph.D. in international relations from McMaster’s political science department, and has written and published on the politics of preemption in international security, the intersection of time and globalization, and the global politics of sport. He also teaches the core undergraduate course for the Institute on Globalization and the Human Condition (IGHC), and recently published his first book, Taming an Uncertain Future: Temporality, Sovereignty, and the Politics of Anticipatory Governance (Rowman & Littlefield International, 2016).
About the Moderator
Susie O'Brien is an Associate Professor in the Department of English and Cultural Studies and a long-serving member and former Associate Director of the IGHC. Her research and teaching focus on postcolonial and environmental literary and cultural studies. Her publications include articles and coedited collections on slow and local food movements, scenario planning, risk and resilience, environmental futurity and the temporality of globalization. She also co-authored, with Imre Szeman, Popular Culture: A User's Guide (4th edition, Nelson, 2017). She is currently working on a monograph tentatively titled "Surprise! The cultural politics of resilience".