Self-Blinded Oracles in DC’s Future Market for Security
European Review of International Studies
NL : Brill Publishers
38 - 61 p.
Sociology, Future, Security, Experts, Think tanks
This paper studies the making future claims of security by a large selection of experts in D.C.’s think tanks. Although the future is a shared concern on D.C.’s marketplace of ideas and in think tanks, as knowledge producers, experts appear as ‘self-blinded’ and produce ‘self-blinding prophecies’. This paper studies the language of future claims and the role of think tanks in the production of anticipatory knowledge. It discusses how claims about the future are prioritised and highlights the focal points around which experts converge. It analyses the reasons for such homogeneous thinking lying in the experts’ social profiles, in the structure of D.C.’s marketplace and in its norms. The ‘future’ has two major latent functions. On the one hand, past-oriented thinking helps create surprises when political events break away from the limited sets of issues studied by experts. On the other, the ‘future’ has integrative functions: it serves as a communication tool for experts that gather around shared horizons of expectation and create a collective web of meaning.