The problem of the present in West Africa: Introducing a conceptual framework

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The practice of anticipation and futures literacy in postcolonial West Africa requires a conceptual framework capable of capturing and articulating recurrent phenomena from the past in the region’s postcolonial present-present. For this purpose, this article theorizes and operationalizes a framework termed the past futures framework (PFF). In this article, past futures are defined as final versions of anticipations that have completely manifested in the present-present, but now exist in the past. The theorization of the PFF builds on the combination of some heuristic principles of historical time, the Futures Literacy Framework (FLF) and the Discipline of Anticipation (DOA). Further, the operationalization of the past futures framework is achieved using the case study of Biafran secessionism in West Africa. Finally, the article argues that a core novelty of the past futures framework lies in its use for revisiting and decolonizing the present, with the aim of mitigating inattentional blindness in foresight practices that sustains conditions for the continual recurrence of past phenomena in the present-present within the region of West Africa.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102815
Number of pages14
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Jul 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • past futures
  • present-present
  • anticipation
  • past-present
  • futures literacy
  • west Africa
  • conceptual framework


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