Looking backward to the future: On past-facing approaches to futuring

Roy Bendor*, Elina Eriksson, Daniel Pargman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
48 Downloads (Pure)


While the past is present in all futuring activities it tends to remain implicit and has not received adequate attention by futures scholars and practitioners. In response, this conceptual paper offers a novel framework with which the past can be brought into futures studies in a structured and comprehensive way. We begin by providing a brief account of how the past already figures in futures studies as part of efforts to understand the lingering effects of the past on the future; as part of a drive for ontological pluralization; and as a way to augment more mainstream futuring exercises. We then introduce two past-facing approaches to futuring, recasting and pastcasting, and illustrate their symmetry with the more familiar future-facing approaches, forecasting and backcasting. The symmetry, we argue, is based on shared aims and a shared style of inquiry. We then compare the different approaches and illustrate the landscape of futuring as an interplay of two dimensions: the focus of the activity on outcomes or pathways, and the stakes involved in it.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102666
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Counterfactuals
  • Futures Methods
  • History
  • Pastcasting
  • Recasting


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