Despite the obvious importance of imagined futures, few sociologists have seen them as particularly useful, let alone central, to understanding capitalist dynamics. Two notable exceptions are Max Weber ( 1992), in his studies on Protestant ethics, and Pierre Bourdieu (1979, 2000), particularly in his accounts of the social and economic transformations in Algeria in the mid- twentieth century.
Scholars from other disciplines have highlighted the role of imagined futures in general and, more specifically, the role of imaginaries. In economics, George Shackle (1979) has assigned the greatest significance to the role of imaginaries in the economy, thus foreshadowing many of the arguments developed in this book. More recently, Richard Bronk (2009) advanced the idea that the way we imagine the indeterminate future structures much of economic behavior. Bronk discusses in detail the work of many economists and philosophers since the Enlightenment and the role of imaginaries in their thinking.
The anthropologist Arjun Appadurai (1996, 2013) has called attention to the role of imaginaries of the future in the creation of the modern subject and of political participation. Benedict Anderson’s (1983) now classic Imagined Communities highlights the role of imaginaries in the process of nation building, but Anderson focuses more on the past and the present than on the future.