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Tomorrow is clad in golf shoes, without oil and/or in ruins: Future projections as authority on and off the Scottish North Sea coast

Publiceringsår: 2011
Språk: Engelska
Dokumenttyp: Konferensbidrag


This paper studies the future as “the only field of power, for we can act only on the future” (de Jouvenel 1967:5). As a number of scholars have pointed out (cf. Foucault 1991, Pred 2007) questions of knowledge is integral to political power, and this paper is about the production of knowledge of what can paradoxically not strictly speaking be known – a future space. I focus on how an interplay of various ways of belonging in and future projections of Aberdeenshire on various time-scales is integral to which plans are seen as feasible and what can be done with this rural landscape. I base this on the ways that the future has been envisioned in a particularly heated debate over a controversial golf resort development along the coast, illustrating how the struggle over space is also by necessity a struggle over time. It is a struggle over which view of the future will prevail and crystallise into a specific kind of space.

While de Jouvenel's statement is something of a truism I none the less argue that studying how possible futures are framed can offer important insights to understand planning. Politicians, planners, developers and activists have all struggled to get their specific future projections across. Authority is established through these projections, and the golf resort development has thus been discursively linked with anticipated environmental damage in the countryside, the regions future after oil extraction and ideas of Scottish independence. This is tales of future spaces told through political manifestos, scientists' reports and activists pamphlets. Integral to the question of whose future vision is to determine the fate of Aberdeenshire is thus the question of which kinds of statements are given authority.


  • Human Geography


4th NGM, Nordic Geographer’s Meeting, 2011

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