Professor Emerita Barbara Adam

I am a social theorist who has applied the focus on social time to the breadth of social science concerns, ranging from education and environmental matters to transport and work. In almost every piece of work I produced, the future featured as the unresolved part of this temporal perspective. An ESRC Professorial Fellowship (In Pursuit of the Future 2003–2007) enabled me to tackle this difficult subject matter head-on. As part of this work, I collaborated with artists to overcome the shortcomings of rationalist and scientific methods to fully engage with the ‘not yet’. I consider this work to be still in its infancy, requiring lots of thinking, exploration and experimenting.

On my retirement in 2012, I gathered together 12 people from across the sciences and the arts who share this concern and passion, to form the Future Matters Collective. In this group, we bring our diverse knowledge to particular subjects, always with unpredictable results that transcend our individual practices and modes of knowing.

Find out more:


Barbara Adam 1998: Timescapes of Modernity. The Environment and Invisible Hazards, London/New York: Routledge.

Barbara Adam and Chris Groves 2007: Future Matters. Action, Knowledge, Ethics. Leiden & Boston: Brill.

Barbara Adam 2004: Memory of Futures, KronoScope 4(1): 297–315.

Barbara Adam 2008: Future Matters. Futures known, created and minded, 21st Century Society, Journal of the Academy of Social Sciences, 3/2: 109–224.

Barbara Adam 2009: Cultural Future Matters: An exploration in the spirit of Max Weber’s methodological writings, Time & Society 18/1: 7–25.

Barbara Adam 2009: Futures in the Making: Sociological practice and challenge, in Jeffries, V. ed. Handbook of Public Sociology. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, pp. 429–445.

Barbara Adam 2010: History of the Future: Paradoxes and Challenges, Rethinking History 14/3: 361–378.

Barbara Adam 2011: Wendell Bell and the Sociology of the Future: Challenges past, present and future, Futures 43: 590–595.

Barbara Adam 2011: Towards Twenty-First-Century Sociological Engagements with the Future, Insights.

Barbara Adam 2012: Sustainability and Gender from a Time-ecological Perspective, in Hofmeister, S., Katz, C. and Moelders, T. eds. Geschlechterverhaeltnisse und Nachhaltigkeit. Die Kategorie Geschlecht in den Nachhaltigkeitswissenschaften. Opladen: B. Budrich, pp.304–312.

Barbara Adam 2013: Sustainability through a Temporal Lens: Time, Future, Process, in Netzwerk Vorsorgendes Wirtschaften eds. Wege vorsorgenden Wirtschaftens, Marburg: Metropolis Verlag, pp.115 –133.