Facebook's futures and historical time: progress, global growth, and the metaverse.
I received ESRC funding to conduct an Intellectual History of Facebook/Meta. My research is concerned with how the future has been envisioned and predicted in Silicon Valley over the past two decades. Specifically, I focus on Facebook/Meta and how the company has produced and fought over different iterations of the future. This ranges from utopian visions of the metaverse, images of a globally connected community, as well as a future in which human behaviour can be accurately predicted and sold. Alongside this, I also explore the concept of ‘growth’ within Facebook/Meta’s discourse.
My research seeks to historicize Facebook’s futures. It does so by examining Facebook/Meta as a product of the historical and geographical contexts from which it arose. I explore some of the institutional and discursive structures that have shaped the futures that the company has constructed.
Finally, I place Facebook/Meta’s visions and predictions of the future within a broad history of past Western futures. The research aims to excavate past Western futures as a means of exploring the shifting and evolving social imaginaries that have underlain Western thought, practices, and ideals. Here I begin with universalist historians in 19th century Europe and the development of ‘progress’ as a concept and temporality, before exploring how it was wielded towards different visions of the future ranging from World Fairs, Science Fiction and the Information Society.
Supervisors: Professor Robin Mansell and Professor Nick Couldry
I received an MA in Philosophy & Politics at the University of Edinburgh, where I focused on the history of social and political thought. I received an MSc in Theory and History of International Relations from LSE in 2019, for which I was awarded the Medlicott Prize for my research.
After graduating, I worked as a journalist for three years. In 2017, I received the Peter Kirk Scholarship to research and write on refugee integration in Sweden and Germany. I also covered Science and Technology for the Conversation UK. Between 2019-2021, I reported on British, Irish and Scandinavian politics for the Japanese newspaper The Asahi Shimbun. During this time, I edited several non-fiction books on Politics and Foreign Policy for Nomad Publishing.