About the Journal
The Journal of Social and Cultural Possibilities is precisely what it claims to be: a journaling of the possible futures on our cultural horizons. The Journal is also, however, more than what it claims to be: it is a space for the critical exploration of social and cultural probabilities, preferabilities, potentialities, promises, proposals, impossibilities, visions, alternatives, speculations, and so on. In other words, the Journal seeks not only to chronicle possible, probable and preferable futures that appear before us, but also to expand the horizon of possible futures through its engagement with diverse social and cultural phenomena. The Journal is interested in exploring how social and cultural practices can both produce and foreclose possibilities and pathways.
The Journal’s foundational premise is that humanistic and social inquiry can (and indeed should) expand our capacity to imagine otherwise. In other words, it is interested in how these modes of inquiry and the habits of mind cultivated thereby might make us more forethoughtful—more attuned to what might come to be, more inventive in our interventions, more creative, more responsible to future generations, more visionary, more reflective on the long-term consequences of our actions, more decisive, and more conscious of the all-too-often under-examined assumptions, values, knowledge systems, and ways of seeing that shape the ways in which we imagine futures and build the futures we imagine. Humanistic and social inquiry--modes of inquiry best heard in dialogue rather than monologue--have the potential to function as an engine of social change; the Journal asks contributors to cultivate this transformative potential.
Social and cultural phenomena that project unjust or oppressive visions of the future, whether directly or tacitly, demand our critical attention. Importantly, however, the Journal views critique not as an end-in-itself but as a foundation for exploring and developing alternative possibilities. Alongside the necessary work of critical analysis, the Journal also seeks to mine the social and cultural landscape for resources that may help us envision and build different, better, and more just futures. We are interested in imaginative resources: for example, we welcome work that focuses on the relationship between cultural or artistic phenomena and futures-thinking. And we are also interested in social and material resources: that is, we welcome work that explores how futures are produced through social practices and processes, and in the context of organizations, movements, communities and institutions.
The Journal of Social and Cultural Possibilities is transdisciplinary in outlook and has a broad understanding of the cognitive tools at our disposal: how, it asks, can future possibilities be seen in or produced through a film, or a political action, or an art movement, or an ethnography, or a social experiment, or a response to a disaster, or an online community? Above all, the Journal invites contributors to imagine rigorously, robustly, carefully, and capaciously: we ask contributors to delineate possible futures and their implications with all the methodological and theoretical care we afford our studies of the actual.
We invite four kinds of contributions to the Journal. First, we publish peer-reviewed articles at the intersections of humanistic, social-scientific and futuristic thinking. We also publish pieces to be reviewed by peers “post-publication.” That is to say, we invite experimental, provocative or creative contributions (for example, manifestos, think pieces, autotheory, video essays, state-of-the-field essays, future-state-of-the-field essays) to be reviewed by the editorial board rather than undergoing the peer review process. Such publications are, by design, germinal, and so they hold the power and potential peculiar to the germ. Third, we have a keen interest in the democratization of futures studies. We encourage our readers to hear the creation of possible futures as they are sounded by underrepresented voices. With this in mind, we invite proposals for carefully planned and thoroughly conceptualized guest-edited themed issues. Guest-edited issues address the futures of a given theme (such as the future of democracy, of America, of racial justice, or of love) or a theme of obvious futuristic significance or dependence (for example, intergenerational justice, Indigenous futures, or cultural revolution). Finally, the Journal always holds open a space for the unforeseen. Given the Journal’s orientation, it is only fitting that we anticipate the unanticipated and welcome ideas beyond the stated aims and scope of the Journal but germane to its mission.