Critical Future Studies and Age

Attending to Future Imaginings of Age and Ageing


  • Susan Watkins Leeds Beckett University



ageism, critical future studies, Cultural Gerontology, Ninni Holmqvist, Speculative Fiction, John Wyndham


This paper draws on cultural gerontology and literary scholarship to call for greater academic consideration of age and ageing in our imaginations of the future.  Our work adds to the development of Critical Future Studies (CFS) previously published in this journal, by arguing that prevailing ageism is fuelled by specific constructions of older populations as a future demographic threat and of ageing as a future undesirable state requiring management and control.  This paper has two parts: the first considers the importance of the future to contemporary ageist stereotypes. The second seeks potential counter representations in speculative fiction.  We argue that an age-aware CFS can allow us not only to imagine newfutures but also to reflect critically on the shape and consequences of contemporary modes of relations of power.


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How to Cite

Raisborough, J. and Watkins, S. (2021) “Critical Future Studies and Age : Attending to Future Imaginings of Age and Ageing ”, Culture Unbound, 13(2), pp. 15–37. doi: 10.3384/cu.3156.