Uncertainty and the Politics of Transformation
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This introductory chapter asks why the idea of uncertainty is so important to politics today. To explore this, the chapter reviews the diverse contributions to the book on themes ranging from finance and banking to insurance to technology regulation, to critical infrastructures, infectious disease responses, climate change, natural disasters, migration, crime and security and spirituality and religion. Across this wide field, the chapter argues that uncertainties are constructions of knowledge, materiality, experience, embodiment and practice; and acknowledging this means challenging singular notions of modernity and progress. Given these multiple dimensions of uncertainty, there can be no singular assumptions about ‘the future’. Instead, the directions taken in pursuit of sustainability and development depend on social, and deeply political, choices. Discussing challenges to singular versions of ‘modernity’ through embracing uncertainty and ignorance and respecting difference, the chapter explores necessary shifts from ‘calculative control’ towards ‘creative care’. Examining how uncertainties are experienced and futures constructed in contexts of marginalisation and precarity, the chapter calls for a new collective, convivial politics of responsibility. The chapter concludes by showing how, in a time of crisis for democratic struggle, embracing uncertainty and challenging control raise hopes of much-needed progressive transformation.