Futures in Practice: Regimes of Engagement and Teleoaffectivity

Daniel Welch, Giuliana Mandich, Margit Keller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The article triangulates Schatzki’s practice theory (2002) and Thévenot’s (2001) ‘regimes of engagement’ with the nascent field of ‘social futures’ or future-oriented cultural sociology (e.g. Coleman and Tutton 2017; Mische 2009). We present a reading of Thévenot’s regimes of engagement that is ontologically compatible with Schatzki’s account of social practices and argue that practices are more or less enmeshed in distinct regimes of engagement. We aver that while people engage reality through distinct regimes of engagement they do so, to follow Schatzki, primarily in the context of social practices. We then articulate this account with Giuliana Mandich’s (2019) work on the different modes of engagement with the future, or forms of reflexive projectivity, that are expressed through Thévenot’s regimes: that of practical anticipation for the regime of the familiar; of probability for the regime of the plan; of possibility for the regime of justification; and of discovery for the regime of exploration. This synthesis enables a practice theoretical account of the different modes through which actors engage with the future that is, we suggest, analytically superior to both Thévenot’s and Schatzki’s tendency towards a mono-dimensional view of agents’ projectivity towards the future. We illustrate the synthesis of practices, regimes of engagement and modes of projectivity chiefly through a study of domestic laundry practice conducted by Southerton and Mylan (2018). We suggest this theoretical development may be productively applied to practice theoretical work informing understanding of issues such as sustainable consumption, mobility and energy use, as well as social change more broadly.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalCultural Sociology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 21 Aug 2020


  • Futures
  • practices
  • projectivity
  • regimes
  • Schatzki
  • Thévenot
  • social


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