Anticipating the apocalypse: Monstrous educational futures

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Educators have been called to engage with the ontological problematic of the ‘future’ – its not- knowable nature – and to consider the radical implications of this notion for education. However, orthodoxies of schooling, research and institutional logics can work to constrain the space and tone of futures talk. One way of expanding the scope of such talk is to engage with the radical potentialities of futures by making space for youth preoccupations and speculations that exceed realist notions of how to anticipate futures and prepare for them. This paper explores how functions of the ‘speculative’ and ‘monstrous’, as elaborated in literary and popular culture analysis find echoes in data gathered with youth about their visions of ‘fantastic’ futures. These fantastic/monstrous narratives reveal the salience of dystopian/apocalyptic visions for youth and the different functions they can fulfil. These encounters also expose challenges for education and research that must be met if they are to remain relevant to young peoples’ needs to imagine, anticipate and prepare for monstrous futures.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102453
Number of pages8
Early online date7 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019


  • Youth futures
  • speculative/fantastic
  • dystopia
  • apocalypse

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