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Staying with Speculation: futures, natures and politics. Special Edition for the Global Discourse Journal 

In Press - Upcoming for publication next February 2021

In Collaboration with Dr. Chris Mortimer (Management School, Lancaster University) and Dr. Luke Moffat (Sociology, Lancaster University)

In the past decade, speculation has become an increasingly widespread concept in disciplines across the sciences, arts and humanities. Its applications are as diverse as designing urban futures, studying geological phenomena and imagining future participatory politics. That speculative methods and practices often place importance on unpredictability would seem to make the approach unattractive to planning and design. However, speculation is increasingly deployed in shaping environments, policies, cultures and products in direct ways. As a consequence, there is growing interest in disparate, but often overlapping, conceptual, theoretical and practical elements of speculative research methods. As this cross-disciplinary pool of research about speculation grows, questions emerge about its potential, as well as its concrete ramifications.


Speculation and speculative methods are often seen as catalysts for change. Staying with Speculation brings together researchers and practitioners from a range of fields to examine the implications and applications of the approach in terms of dealing with core ethical, methodological and practical issues that we face in an era of volatile unpredictability. This is essential since, although there is discussion of speculation in design, sociological and philosophical literatures, exchange between researchers and practitioners is still quite rare – a phenomenon demonstrated by the lack of a coherent, shared vocabulary of and on the approach. Issues to be examined include:

  • the ethical and political questions regarding the deployment of speculation both within and beyond academic contexts

  • the implication of speculation on disciplinary boundaries

  • the identify of those on whose behalf research practices speculate

  • the potential for speculation to be both an inclusive and exclusionary practice

  • and the potential for speculative practices to address global challenges such as climate change, urban futures and new political practices

In this Special Edition, we tried to connect researchers for different sectors and disciplines, and academics at different stages of their careers to enter in dialogue. The structure of the journal includes short responses and introductions to themes from authors and contributors that include my favorite people working now with speculation, futures, natures and politics in different manners. This is a project very near my heart, and the fact that came along during pandemic times, make the contribution more precious on one side, but also used the moment in time as postal for very interesting reflections. So excited! 

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