The futures of agency
Exploring the liminal spaces between action and responsibility
26 October 2023 (Thursday), 11:15-13:00, imagine2

Prognostic Profiling as Preventive Policy

Traditional governance mechanisms aiming at prevention of societal problems prove to be disappointingly ineffective against the backdrop of a highly complex, very dynamic and increasingly unpredictable global context. This paper will argue that within the global prognostic discourse education has been attached very specific importance vis-à-vis this situation. To sum up, the sector is considered a societal terrain on which preventive policies could actually stand some chance – by concentrating on shaping the next generation of citizens instead of trying to reshape the current politico-economic and social landscape. As the latter, in the context of late capitalist societies, hardly looks like a possible task, it is no surprise that education is gradually turning from a governance issue to the governance issue. Then, prognostic profiling, i.e., envisioning the “package” of personal traits and characteristics of the “men of tomorrow” and making efforts to instill those in the students, becomes the manifestation of preventive policies. Prevention is construed twofold: 1/ as future-proofing the individual (prevent personal breakdown); as future-proofing the world (prevent planetary collapse). The paper will pay due attention to the profound effects this strategy of relating to the future produces in terms of our broader understanding of political responsibility, intergenerational relations and the agency of change.

Associate Professor
Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences