Witnessing the Future
The paper explores the phenomenon of witnessing the future through a case study of how a Scandinavian new economy firm managed to persuade a number of business journalists that it was "the future". It describes the procedures and rhetorical strategies that the manager deployed to turn the journalists into witnesses. It compares the manager's strategy to other cases of effective witnessing in courtrooms and in science. It concludes that the manager's persuasiveness is derived from his ability to articulate a series of pointed contrasts between the attractive working life within the firm and the problematic work life elsewhere. Finally, it notes that the manager's strategy enacts a time-world characterised by dramatic epochal changes, which is radically different from the more stable and knowable time-world that is enacted in ordinary scientific discourses.
actor-network theory; witnessing; new economy; future; epochalism