Anticipation Work: Cultivating Vision in Collective Practice. CSCW ’15.

Anticipation Work: Cultivating Vision in Collective Practice

Stephanie B. Steinhardt, Steven J. Jackson

ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Media (CSCW) 2015 | Vancouver, BC | March 14-18, 2015

Best Paper Award Honorable Mention

This paper joins a growing body of CSCW and HCI work addressing problems of temporality in large-scale collaborative work. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork around large-scale infrastructure development in ecology and ocean science, and analyses of futurism in science and technology studies, we call attention to “anticipation work”: the practices that cultivate and channel expectations of the future, design pathways into those imaginations, and maintain those visions in the face of a dynamic world. We advance three basic claims: first, that long term technological development and sustainability in science is guided by complex and distributed forms of futurism; second, that all actors (both individual and collective) orient towards the future (at both temporally close and distant scales); and third, that actors engage in complex and skilled forms of anticipation work – individual and collective, formal and informal – that guide and shape the present character and experience of collaborative life.