In his 2013 book The Future as Cultural Fact, Arjun Appadurai was writing that we need to understand better the interactions between three notable human preoccupations: imagination, anticipation, and aspiration. Appadurai pointed out that the capacities to aspire, anticipate and imagine are recognizably universal but culturally defined; they take their force within local systems of value and meaning. In exercising our capacities to imagine, anticipate and aspire, Appadurai argues that we need to adopt an ethics of possibility (of building a better, more equitable world for ourselves and our children) against an ethics of probability (of risk, disaster and privately created security). Thinking about the future of Europe today one wonders what is the balance of forces between a transnational ethics of possibility (and responsibility) and a national or regional ethics of probability. This workshop will critically discuss how the concepts outlined above have played out in recent European crises (the Eurozone crisis, the refugee emergency) and how they can help us rethink the future of Europe.
Arjun Appadurai is the Goddard Professor in Media, Culture and Communication at New York University, where he is also Senior Fellow at the Institute for Public Knowledge. He serves as Honorary Professor in the Department of Media and Communication, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, Tata Chair Professor at The Tata Institute for Social Sciences, Mumbai and as a Senior Research Partner at the Max-Planck Institute for Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Gottingen. Appadurai is world renowned expert on the cultural dynamics of globalization, having authored numerous books and scholarly articles. The nature and significance of his contributions throughout his academic career have earned him the reputation as a leading figure in his field.