Defining Scenario Video

My colleague, long-time collaborator, and now co-blogger, Matthew Spaniol, just released a video about our recent paper that free and available here. The video is called “Defining Scenario” and is available in a short, quick version (here) and a detailed, extended version (here).


This work, and our past papers — here, here, here, and here (p. 103-110) — are all based on Matthew‘s dissertation from Roskilde University in Denmark, “Scenario planning in practice: Empirical philosophy, social foundation, paradox, and definitions” from late last year (2017, overseen by philosopher and science studies expert Søren Riis at Roskilde’s Institut for Kommunikation og Humanistisk Videnskab).

The abstract to the paper “Defining Scenario” available here and here:

Scholars claim that futures and foresight science should overcome “confusion” regarding the definition of core concepts, for example, the scenario. Admittedly, defining scenario has been a challenge. Current practice, which results in repeated attempts to clarify said confusion with yet another new definition of scenario, has apparently not advanced the field. An alternative option is not to redefine scenario, but to, instead, create a shared definition composed of component parts of pre‐existing definitions. The result is an operant or synthesized definition based on analysis of claims indicating what “a scenario is…” and “scenarios are…” in the literature on scenario planning. The authors find that scenarios have a temporal property rooted in the future and reference external forces in that context; scenarios should be possible and plausible while taking the proper form of a story or narrative description; and that scenarios exist in sets that are systematically prepared to coexist as meaningful alternatives to one another. Despite claims to the contrary, the authors find that the academic community of futures and foresight science does not seem to suffer from so‐called confusion over the definition of scenario, and thus, it is time to sunset the use of claims to this end.

This entry was posted in Future, Methods, sociology, STS, Theory by Nicholas. Bookmark the permalink.

About Nicholas

Associate Professor of Sociology, Environmental Studies, and Science and Technology Studies at Penn State, Nicholas mainly writes about understanding the scientific study of states and, thus, it is namely about state theory. Given his training in sociology and STS, he takes a decidedly STS-oriented approach to state theory and issues of governance.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s