Social expectations: epistemic basis and role in the knowledge society


The article presents the results of the analysis of the theoretical content of the concept “social expectations” and its relationship with similar theoretical constructions. The article describes the prerequisites for the formation of this concept, due to the development of social theory and its theoretical and cognitive foundations on the one hand, and the dynamics of social practice, which requires new forms of understanding and regulation on the other hand. The concept of “expectation” is clarified, its epistemological and activity meanings are revealed, as well as its relation to such concepts as “knowledge”, “anticipation”, and “prevision”. The author traces the continuity of issues related to the phenomenon of reflexivity of predictions, in particular, the analysis of the reflexivity of public predictions, and issues related to the studies of individual and collective expectations in economic and sociological research. The specificity of the concept “social expectations” is to emphasize the activity nature of expectations and their role as a generating factor, not just a representation of the social process. This shift in emphasis distinguishes this concept from the concepts of rational and adaptive expectations in economics, which focus primarily on the epistemic understanding of expectations. It is shown that the concept of social expectations allows carrying out exploration related to fixing and understanding the features of modern society, in particular, the features of the functioning of the social context of technological development.