What in the World? Storyworlds, Science Fiction, and Futures Studies

by Peter von Stackelberg & Alex McDowell


This article looks at how futures studies can use storyworlds to address some of the challenges the field faces. It provides an overview of social constructionism, integral theory/integral futures,and sense-making in the context of the current evolution of futures methodologies. This article also examines the role of narratives generally and science fiction in particular in exploring and communicating about the future. An overview of what storyworlds are and how they have been
used in science fiction and futures studies is followed by a pair of cases studies focused on two worldbuilding projects, one for the fictional world of Rilao and the other for the storyworld created for the 2002 film Minority Report. The article concludes with an analysis of how the worldbuilding process is compatible with social constructionism, integral theory/integral futures, and sense-making.

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