A narrative approach to study the imagination of personal futures

Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk


This lecture presents a narrative approach to researching the imagination of personal futures. The approach encompasses an analytical framework (based on dimensions of projectivity, see Mische, 2009) and an elicitation method (Letters from the Future). Using an example letter from a study about post-Referendum futures in Greece, challenges in researching the imagination of personal futures are discussed drawing on psychological research on futures thinking, sociological research on its sociocultural shaping and futures studies research on possibility thinking. The challenges will be presented in three thematic clusters based on the dimensions of projectivity:
(1) Balancing the dimensions of clarity and reach addresses the quality of narrative accounts of the future and proposes techniques for eliciting personally meaningful accounts;
(2) The experience and meaning of time focuses on the dimensions contingency, connectivity, genre and volition. This theme foregrounds narrative sense-making involved in imagining the future, thereby highlighting futures thinking as cultural capacity;
(3) Engaging spaces of the possible is about the dimensions breadth and expandability. This theme foregrounds narrative imagination and the (co-)constructive nature of narrating the future. Finally, strengths and limitations are discussed including some ethical considerations.
Period22 Jan 2020
Event titleStories to Live By: Narrative and Identity 2020
Event typeCourse
LocationGroningen, NetherlandsShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational