Teaching and Doing Creative Futures Studies As a New Sociological Craft: Exploring the Creative Dialogues of ‘Art and Social Engaging Research’, ‘Utopia As Method’ and Future Scenario Methods

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 16:00
Oral Presentation
Chia-ling LAI, National Taiwan Normal University, Taiwan
Recent debates in sociological research methodology has paid great attention to the limit of current empirical social research methods that prevent people from creatively imagine the future. In the era of global complexity (Urry, 2003), non-linear social forces and unpredictable social change, from disaster, new technology, great events, have all disturbed the current social order and academic disciplinary boundaries that can neither be understood nor predicted by the traditional sociological research methodologies and methods.

Currently, new social research crafts (Bourdieu, 1991) have been suggested by some leading scholars. Art-related and social engaging research methods (Lury, 2014; Back, 2016) argue for not only doing social research within social science, but also to appropriate multiple art forms as tools for the social engagement and creativity formation. Future studies have long been developing special methodologies, including historical analysis, future triangles, back-casting, scenarios and utopia research methods (Levitas, 2013) that encourage inter-disciplinary forward-thinking research, can be combined as a new research craft.

This paper aims to develop the combined research methods in doing and teaching the creative futures studies. It begins with the discussion on future studies in sociology (Schulz, 2014; Urry, 2016); then it explores the multiple research methods, including utopia as methods, scenario analysis, and art-related research, based on current methodology debates. Finally, it reflexively examines how to do and teach creative social research based on my former teaching experiences in futures studies, creative research and critical methodology courses in Taiwan.