Nineteen Eighty-Four in the British Telephone System: Computers, Science Fiction, and Thatcherism in British Telecom

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic


This co-edited collection of essays examines the increasing centrality of futures and futures-thinking in all disciplines. It provides theoretical perspectives on constructions of futurity, across the arts, humanities, and social sciences, opening up multidisciplinary conversations between them. Bringing together emerging perspectives on the future from diverse disciplinary perspectives including critical theory, design, anthropology, sociology, politics, and history, the book examines the ways in which the future can be an object of empirical study, a subject for theorization, and an orientation for practice in the real world. The book examines historical and contemporary forms of futures knowledge, the methodologies and technologies of futures expertise, and the role played by different institutions in legitimizing, deploying, and controlling anticipatory practices. Contributors challenge and debate the varied ways in which futures are conjured and constructed, as objects of art and imagination as well as of science and geopolitics. Chapters explore issues as diverse as the utopian imagination, history and philosophy, literary and political manifestos, artefacts and design fictions, and forms of technological and financial forecasting, big data, climate-modelling, and scenarios. The book positions the future as a question of power, of representations and counter-representations, and forms of struggle over future imaginaries. Forms of futures-making depend on complex processes of envisioning and embodiment. Each chapter investigates the critical vocabularies, genres, and representational methods—narrative, quantitative, visual, and material—of futures-making as deeply contested fields in cultural and social life.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFutures
EditorsSandra Kemp, Jenny Andersson
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9780198806820
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021

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