Dialoguing with citizens regarding the future is the core part of a research project in which researchers forecast the future together with citizens who discuss their preferred future society. The research is meaningful in that the future should not be the exclusive domain of a few experts or the government, but should rather be completed with the participation of various individuals while carefully considering the daily lives of citizens. This year, we met a variety of citizens, including residents of Busan, young politicians, atomic bomb victims, nuclear power plant villagers, multicultural immigrant women, youth in family care, teachers at alternative schools, local graduate school students in the humanities and social sciences, attorneys for juvenile offenders, women defected from North Korea and their children, and sexual minorities.
Together, we forecasted several possible futures and discussed which of them we hoped would come to fruition and what necessary policies they would entail. When looking at the future, these people said that they wish there would be more opportunities like this.
This study analyzes what kind of future our society should pursue from the perspective of minorities and the weak. These efforts are an essential process to realize a mature society that takes care of minorities and the vulnerable community above all else according to the preferred future presented by the National Assembly Futures Institute for 2021.
Researchers prefer the expression ‘emerging citizens’ rather than minorities and the vulnerable community. Minorities and the weak in our society are considered objects of one-sided benefits that society must take care of. However, the researchers believe that the problems they raise are ones that our society must solve for the future. In that respect, they are not beneficiaries but rather innovators in our society.
Citizens who participated and cooperated in this year's research testify that we can create a new future together with them. We would like to express our deepest gratitude to the researchers who pursued the study by meeting citizens from various fields, conducted in-depth interviews, and held future outlook workshops. Additionally, we would like to express our deepest gratitude to the local citizens, social activists, experts, and young people who participated in the research. We believe that future alternatives can be found in the activities of these people, and that policies developed together with them will be useful. Dialogue about the future with emerging citizens must continue.
We hope that the results of this study can be used as productive data to present and advance an alternative future in our society.