Prof. Jian Bang Deng, sociologist from the Graduate School of Future Studies Thamkang University, Taiwan, gave a presentation titled “What kind of Future we want?” He is currently a visiting Professor at UGM’s Centre of Southeast Asia Social Studies.
Prof. Deng explained the importance of future studies, how sociology is closely related to future studies.
“Human beings will continue to look for better things and expect the creation of a better society. Hence, we need a special approach to see the future and need theories to help us understand a good society and how to create it,” he said.
He quoted Markus Schluz (2016) as saying that the reflection of the past about the future gave the assumption that the future has been determined. Prof. Deng further introduced the four main approaches in Future Studies by Schulz. These are: specific forecasts, scenario building of alternative futures, studies of social imagination and future making normative and norm analytical research.
Furthermore, he explained his research done to students of Thamkang University in 2014 resulting that students in Taiwan were more concerned about uncertainties in work, health, and life away from spouses at their 40s instead of working abroad, being married and having children or when they reach 40.
According to Prof. Deng, these results showed that Taiwanese young people more cared about current work amidst the global community and uncertain career ladder than in the past. He said this was like what was explained by Schulz that the future could not be taken for granted but instead being formed and there were also choices.
“Future research investigates current trends on possible futures and this will help us create a future that we want. Future Studies is expected to give a new approach to contributing to the creation of an ASEAN community that we want,” he said.