Introduction: Imagining the future in East Asia

Xiaoming WANG, Stephen C. K. CHAN

Research output: Journal PublicationsEditorial/Preface (Journal)

2 Citations (Scopus)


One of the most globally serious in the recent decades is the reshaping, even reversing, of the basic directions of people's imagination of the future, which were mainly established within the intellectual frame of historic progress and strongly motivated by the real social struggles from the late nineteenth century to the 1980s, saying, which have seemingly proved the progress. The most important of the social functions of this reshaping/reversing is to make people including the youth more poor-spirited, nearsighted, self-centred and conservative. Is the judgment outlined above tenable? Is there something very different, which shows the bright side of today's public imagination of the future? How is the complexity and diversity of the imagination in the different areas as well as in the different cultural and social positions of a same society? And more important, how is the situation of the youth in thinking and imaging the future when it's still commonly today to think the youth as a symbol of the future? … The questions are too big perhaps and the answers will certainly diverse, especially when looking into various social activities to trace the imagination. People always need positive imagination of the future when walking forward, and they are not only shaped by the current but also directed by the past, that's why it's worthy to develop the careful contrast of how people imagine the future today with how they did it before. Urged by what said above, seven authors, from Seoul, Tokyo, HK, Shanghai and Guangzhou, have worked with us to make a collection aiming at the imagination of future in East Asia. The collection composed by two parts: the first has five papers focusing on the current situations of the imagination of the future in different social contexts, and the other has two ones introducing very interesting historical cases of how the ‘Chinese revolution’ was seen from perspectives out of the mainland China.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-184
Number of pages12
JournalCultural Studies
Issue number2
Early online date5 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020


  • East Asia
  • Imagination of the future
  • relationship between today and past
  • reserves of hope
  • spiritual space
  • the youth


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