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Civilizational futures within the integral futures framework: the plural quadrants

Dennis R. Morgan (Associate Professor at the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Yong‐in, South Korea)


ISSN: 1463-6689

Article publication date: 17 October 2010




Expanding on the findings of the SOPIFF research project, this paper aims to identify eight futures schools of thought, which are analyzed and critiqued through an integral framework. As “Part II” of a previous publication, it seeks to focus on the lower (plural) quadrants.


The paper adapts Ken Wilber's integral theory to clarify various philosophical orientations to the future. It also adapts Fredrich Polak's approach to futures as a matter of “social critique and reconstruction”; however, the approach is global, civilizational, and integral, so it proposes civilizational critique and integral reconstruction as a method for evaluating futures schools of thought.


The IF framework is found to be a valuable theoretical and analytical tool for clarifying images of the future; it shows lines of development within each quadrant and interactions between quadrants, illustrating the effectiveness of the four‐quadrant approach.

Research limitations/implications

It further illuminates the “global problematique” expressed in the SOPIFF project and proposes the IF framework as a way to interpret those research findings.

Practical implications

This approach to futures/foresight studies broadens the range and offers more depth to conceptions of the future, so it should help to develop/improve futures methodologies/practices in general.

Social implications

Civilizational critique and integral reconstruction of images of the future imply unprecedented social change.


The paper should help futurists to see and interpret the “bigger picture” of civilizational futures through revealing the “crack” of the modern image of the future, how it relates to the current world crisis, and what is needed to heal the crack, so a new vision of a preferred future can emerge.



Morgan, D.R. (2010), "Civilizational futures within the integral futures framework: the plural quadrants", Foresight, Vol. 12 No. 6, pp. 69-90.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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