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Imagination and Imaginative Capacity for Transforming to Sustainability:
Future Thinking for a World of Uncertainty and Surprise

Photos credit: Simon Stålenhag, Stockholm Resilience Centre

Collection launched: August 1, 2017

Manjana Milkoreit, Department of Political Science, Purdue University, USA
Michele-Lee Moore, Department of Geography, University of Victoria, Canada; Stockholm 
Resilience Centre, Stockholm University, Sweden

Future thinking – envisioning, learning about, planning for and making decisions with regard to the future – plays a crucial, yet understudied, role in shaping the requisite transformations towards sustainability. Imaginative capacity could guide decision making in collectively determined directions and help to secure just, social and ecological well-being and prosperity in times of rapid and often unpredictable global change. 

For this Special Feature, authors will coalesce around a definition of imagination as the cognitive and social processes that create representations of possible future states of the world, that can inform public deliberation, policy development, and globally negotiated agreements. While we postulate that imagination lies at the heart of the sustainability transformations increasingly called for at the global level, its causal role and social functions are poorly understood. Therefore, this Special Feature will focus on the emerging interdisciplinary efforts to understand: how imagination works, how to build imaginative capacities, what sources of information exist and are being used for creating future visions, and the associated questions of science- policy and art-policy interactions.

We welcome submissions of research articles, especially those with an emphasis on cognitive sciences, as well as policy and practice bridge articles by October 31st, 2017. Authors are encouraged to contact the Special Feature editors with questions concerning content and formatting. or

Additional articles under review

View All Articles in this Special Feature Collection

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