Ruthlessly Imagined Communicative Futures

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


This paper analyses future-making practices in the adoption and consumption of tablet computers by lab-based academic scientists. The paper shares ethnographic research findings that examine the role of everyday communicativepractices in the formation ofimagined futures. Participantsframed their use of tablets as a process of ‘bringing about’ an imagined future in which big data approaches wouldallow instant (even automated) communication of resultsand ideas, improvingteaching and research. Participants explicitly drew on discourses of past, futureand progress to construct and define an imagined future characterized by this automated, datafied model of communication. Participants adopted tablets with theaim of changingtheir everyday communicative practices in the present, on the basis that thiswould help to bring about theimagined future. As such, tablets represented a ‘future in the present’, a discontinuous temporality which, this paper argues, led to the ruthless adoption of tablet computers in a self-fulfilling process of future-building.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2016
EventThe 6th Biannual ECREA Conference : Mediated (Dis)Continuities: Contesting Pasts, Presents, Futures - Prague Conference Centre , Prague, Czech Republic
Duration: 9 Nov 201612 Nov 2016
Conference number: 6


ConferenceThe 6th Biannual ECREA Conference
CountryCzech Republic
Internet address


  • tablet computer
  • imagined futures
  • imaginaries
  • technology
  • Media

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