is our reward

Publications in Temporality by NOMIS researchers

NOMIS Researcher(s)

Published in

June 26, 2022

Fifteen years ago, Jane Guyer (2007) argued that the near future had largely disappeared from collective imaginaries, replaced by longer-term horizons associated with evangelical Christianity and free market capitalism. While not seeking to repudiate Guyer, this article argues that recent developments have radically altered relationships to the future. It points to a previously unrecognized connection between two of the most significant challenges facing humanity today: the experience of living through a global pandemic and international efforts to limit the harmful consequences of climate change. Responses to both phenomena invoke the grammatical structure of the future perfect tense. During the pandemic, people began to imagine themselves living at a future moment in time when they have already resumed participating in those activities they have been prevented from undertaking, an example of the future perfect. The Paris Climate Agreement, which encourages states and other parties to take action in the present so that in the future they will already have saved the planet, also relies on the future perfect. In reaction to the pandemic and climate change, the near future has reemerged as a focal point of temporal attention. This article examines how the future appears in the present and the contribution of the future perfect tense to the creation of alternative futures. © The Author(s) 2022.

Research field(s)
Arts & Humanities, Historical Studies, Anthropology