The future

Talia Dan-Cohen


In the 1990s and early 2000s, Rabinow turned to the study of emergent assemblages, which are rooted in the recent past and possess an uncertain future. The turn to assemblages therefore brings a distinctive temporality into view. Attending to this temporality, this essay examines Rabinow’s interest in “the future” by proposing two observations. First, it argues that Rabinow’s handling of the future is shaped by his thorough rejection of nostalgia. Second, it suggests that Rabinow’s emphasis on the “near” future is a temporal counterpart to his more general interest in the semi-local and near-at-hand as ways of delimiting the scale of objects of inquiry. Together, these qualities give Rabinow’s scholarship a provisional openness to things yet to come, and the sensitivity to grasp the filaments of a possible future.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1086/716915