Future knowledge ecologies: changing worlds of forecasting, science and society (KCE panel)

Sophie Haines and Sara de Wit convened a panel at Knowledge/Culture/Ecologies – the 4th conference in the Knowledge/Culture series of international conferences created by the Institute for Culture and Society (ICS), Western Sydney University, Australia.  The conference took place in Santiago, Chile from 15-18 November, hosted by Universidad Diego Portales in partnership with Pontificia Universidad Católica; Núcleo Milenio de Investigación en Energía y Sociedad (NUMIES); and Centro de Estudios de Conflicto y Cohesión Social (COES).


Panel abstract: This panel addresses the generation and negotiation of knowledge about socio-ecological futures, by exploring the cultural, historical and political meanings and implications of anticipation, prediction, simulation and imagination, for future environmental and social worlds.

This panel seeks to stimulate discussion on the diverse ways in which people and groups produce and engage with knowledge about socio-ecological futures. Papers will consider the historical and cultural construction and negotiation of concepts and figures including climate variability and change, watersheds, and the El Niño Southern Oscillation, examining historically and ethnographically their meanings and implications for people and environments in Central and South America and other global contexts.

How do forecasters and potential beneficiaries interpret, negotiate, translate and co-create knowledge and action about socio-ecological futures? What does it mean for such projects to succeed or fail, and what are the societal challenges and opportunities relating to justice, equity, and ethics?

The panel will consider the predictive infrastructures and assemblages that are deployed in the work of anticipation, and their implications for the politics of uncertainty, intervention, and accountability. It will address translations and negotiation of scientific and other forms and sources of knowledge, and will explore what happens when predictive promise encounters the friction of contingent, emergent worlds, as socio-ecological possibilities are brought into view and into being.


  • Sara de Wit (University of Oxford) - The predictive promises of Forecast-based Financing
  • Sophie Haines (University of Oxford) - Watershed knowledge and socio-ecological futures in Belize
  • Juan Carlos Skewes (Universidad Alberto Hurtado) and Felipe Trujillo Bilbao (Universidad Alberto Hurtado) - The local-state adjures in the social construction of the landscape
  • George Adamson (University College London) - El Niño Southern Oscillation and Geographies of Knowledge