National Knowledge and Research Center for Emergency Readiness - O'Brien (2016). ‘We Thought the World Was Makeable’: Scenario Planning and Postcolonial Fiction

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O'Brien (2016). ‘We Thought the World Was Makeable’: Scenario Planning and Postcolonial Fiction

Bibliographic details:

O'Brien, S. (2016). ‘We Thought the World Was Makeable’: Scenario Planning and Postcolonial Fiction. Globalizations, 13(3), 329-344.

Abstract:

This essay uses Indra Sinha's 2007 novel, Animal's People, as a critical lens to analyze the discourse of scenario planning. I argue that scenario planning, a strategy of speculation about possible futures, elides history—specifically the intertwined processes of colonialism and capitalism—in favor of the idea of globalization as an inexorable unfolding of the world as a complex system. Following a brief genealogy of the discourse of scenario planning that highlights its Cold War origins, and ongoing function in imagining, and helping to secure, the future of global capitalism, I offer as counterpoint a postcolonial reading of Animal's People. A fictional exploration of the aftermath of the 1984 Union Carbide factory gas leak in Bhopal, India, the novel contests (thematically and formally) the hegemonic temporality of globalization that informs scenario planning and the model of risk management it inspires.

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