Provincialising Futures Literacy: A caution against codification

Keri Facer*, Arathi Sriprakash

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


This paper reflects on the emergence of an international effort to codify and cultivate a new ‘human capability’: Futures Literacy. Futures Literacy is understood as the technical expertise to reflexively ‘use the future’ to perceive and inform actions in the present. Its advocates call for Futures Literacy to become a new ‘universal literacy’. While the critical use of ideas of the future to
inform action in the present is an educational practice with generative pedagogic and political possibilities, in this paper we show that codifying Futures Literacy in this way risks narrowing what constitutes ‘rational’ uses of the future, positioning a small technocratic elite as authorities in its practice and casting other uses of the future as forms of illiteracy. The paper proposes a different trajectory for ‘Futures Literacy’, in which it divests from assumptions of institutional authority
and desires for universal codification, positions itself as one amongst many futures literacies and as allied with a broader repertoire of educational and social struggles over the future. In provincialising Futures Literacy in this way it will be better placed to creatively surface and grapple with the relations of power through which ideas of the future are brought into the present.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102807
Number of pages10
Early online date14 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Keri Facer would like to thank the Zennström Initiative in Climate Change Leadership for funding her Guest Professorship at Uppsala University during which a first draft of the paper was produced.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021


  • futures literacy
  • literacies
  • power
  • education


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