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Article
Publication date: 17 October 2010

Dennis R. Morgan

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

Abstract

Purpose

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.

Design/methodology/approach

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.

Findings

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.

Originality/value

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.

Details

Foresight, vol. 12 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

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Article
Publication date: 10 November 2014

Joshua Floyd and Richard A. Slaughter

The purpose of this special issue is first to highlight the need for wider understanding of the “civilisational challenge” facing humanity, as it encounters and then…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this special issue is first to highlight the need for wider understanding of the “civilisational challenge” facing humanity, as it encounters and then exceeds significant limits to growth. The second is to present material that provides grounds for developing effective responses.

Design/methodology/approach

The issue draws on evidence from previous research, economic modelling and a range of other sources to investigate the hypothesis that humanity is heading towards an “overshoot and collapse” future. It further suggests that a useful way of responding is to explore the possibility that the prospect of collapse can be moderated or avoided through a process of “conscious descent.”

Findings

The main findings are that a very wide spectrum of policies, actions, strategies and options is available that can and should be used to help us avoid the most disastrous manifestations of “overshoot and collapse.” Yet there are also many barriers and impediments that continue to inhibit effective responses. This means that the process of coming to grips with the “civilisational challenge” will take longer and become increasingly costly. Denialism and short term thinking remain embedded in dominant institutions and mainstream practice. Currently, vastly more is miss-spent on various perverse incentives (e.g. advertising, the funding of denial, fossil fuel subsidies) than on securing the future of civilisation. This can be seen as a consequence of outdated values and inadequate worldviews.

Research limitations/implications

The contributions here represent a sample from within a rapidly expanding field of enquiry and action. They should therefore be seen as indicating the need for further high quality investigation, work and action. The main implication is that this process needs to be taken seriously, properly resourced and eventually transformed into a mainstream social project.

Originality/value

The papers are contributions to an in-depth understanding of a complex and evolving situation. Their value lies in the fact that greater understanding and a commitment to early action are among the most productive investments available to societies vulnerable to the systemic threats outlined here. As such, the special issue evokes a fundamental tenet of foresight work in general. Or to put this in the words of Bertrand de Jouvenel, “the proof of improvidence lies in falling under the empire of necessity.”

Details

foresight, vol. 16 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

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Book part
Publication date: 20 June 2008

Howard V. Perlmutter

In the 21st century First Global Civilization, there are major forces of constructive global interdependence in all regions of the world and in all civilizational domains…

Abstract

In the 21st century First Global Civilization, there are major forces of constructive global interdependence in all regions of the world and in all civilizational domains, including, political, economic, socio-cultural and religious, ecological and outer-spacial. At the same time, there are often equal and opposite forces for destructive global interdependence in the same areas. This led me to formulate Five Scenarios for the future of the First Global Civilization ranging from a Fragile Future with high degrees of vulnerability in all civilizational domains to a set of Doomsday or Final Futures.

Details

International Business Scholarship: AIB Fellows on the First 50 Years and Beyond
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-7623-1470-6

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Article
Publication date: 28 August 2009

Dennis Ray Morgan

This paper aims to expand on the findings of the SOPIFF project by identifying eight futures schools of thought, and then analyze and critique these through the integral

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to expand on the findings of the SOPIFF project by identifying eight futures schools of thought, and then analyze and critique these through the integral futures (IF) framework. This paper, Part I, also aims to focus on the upper quadrants of the IF framework.

Design/methodology/approach

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

Findings

The IF framework has proved to be a valuable theoretical and analytical tool since it clarifies not only orientations to the future but also demonstrates the dynamic lines of development and interactions throughout all four quadrants, illustrating how the four‐quadrant approach is an effective framework for understanding the crisis of civilization and the response needed at this time in history to bring about a preferred future.

Research implications/limitations

The paper draws and expands upon the findings of the SOPIFF project as a way to better understand the “global problematique.” Thus, this paper suggests some implications of that research and proposes the integral futures framework as a way to interpret research findings. Future research should attempt to develop and apply the IF framework similarly in order to realize a sustainable, integrally‐informed image of the future of human civilization.

Practical implications

An integrally‐informed approach to futures and foresight studies should help develop and improve futures methodology/practices in general. The IF framework helps to understand philosophical orientations underlying practices and applications.

Originality/value

This application of the IF framework to various mainstream futures schools of thought is original. It should help futurists to see and interpret the bigger picture regarding images of the future in a civilizational context by revealing the “crack” in the modern image of the future, how it relates to the current world crisis, and what is needed to heal the crack so that a new, more integrally‐informed, sustainable image of the future can emerge.

Details

Foresight, vol. 11 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 2001

Richard A. Slaughter

For futures studies to progress toward a fully‐fledged discipline its knowledge creation processes must be clear and comprehensible. They must be capable of being taught…

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Abstract

For futures studies to progress toward a fully‐fledged discipline its knowledge creation processes must be clear and comprehensible. They must be capable of being taught, learned, critiqued and modified. This paper provides a rationale for using a version of Wilber’s four‐quadrant model as one way of understanding the knowledge creation process in futures studies. It applies this structurally to knowledge creation through four contrasting futures methodologies. The latter are then recontextualized within the four‐quadrant framework. It is suggested that a rapprochement between futures studies and an emerging “integral agenda” provides a sound approach to the civilizational challenge facing humankind.

Details

Foresight, vol. 3 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

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Article
Publication date: 28 August 2009

Richard Slaughter and Chris Riedy

This paper draws on research undertaken for the State of Play in the Futures Field (SoPiFF) project and aims to explore the contribution of futures work to understanding

Abstract

Purpose

This paper draws on research undertaken for the State of Play in the Futures Field (SoPiFF) project and aims to explore the contribution of futures work to understanding and resolving aspects of the global problematique and to examine the social interests evident in futures work.

Design/methodology/approach

The project used an integral meta‐scanning framework to review publicly available futures material. The framework categorizes futures work according to organizational type, social interests, methods, domains and geographic location (details of the methodology are outlined in the accompanying introductory paper as well as on the web site created for the project).

Findings

The futures field has made a series of significant contributions to understanding the global problematique and has contributed to the pre‐conditions for its resolution. However, the bulk of mainstream futures work does little to improve the preparedness of humanity for looming future crises. More innovative futures work remains marginalized and largely ignored by the powerful and the wider public. There is a strong case for more effective political engagement than has occurred hitherto.

Research limitations/implications

Further research is needed on shared definitions for the field, interactions with the media, public and other fields of enquiry and action, measurement of individual foresight capacity, strategies for achieving influence – particularly in the political sphere, the role of subcultures within the futures field and suitable publishing strategies.

Practical implications

The paper recommends specific actions to promote and publicize good work, provide annual digests of futures‐related information, develop and use focused briefings, provide support for “cutting‐edge” futures work, further develop advanced futures methods, create new alliances, build the social capacity for foresight and strengthen the nexus between foresight and philanthropy.

Originality/value

The paper uses an integral meta‐scanning framework to provide a novel analysis of the futures field. The findings will be of value to all futures and foresight practitioners that are interested in the future success of the field.

Details

Foresight, vol. 11 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

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Article
Publication date: 28 August 2009

Chris Riedy

This paper aims to draw on a global scan of futures literature undertaken for the State of Play in the Futures Field (SOPIFF) project to investigate the contribution of

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to draw on a global scan of futures literature undertaken for the State of Play in the Futures Field (SOPIFF) project to investigate the contribution of futures work to averting looming sustainability challenges and suggest new strategies for influencing policy and practice.

Design/methodology/approach

The SOPIFF project used an integral meta‐scanning framework to review publicly available futures material, providing a rich source of material to use in assessing the influence achieved by futures work. The framework categorizes futures work according to organizational type, social interests, methods, domains and geographic location.

Findings

On the whole, the influence achieved by futures work is disappointing given that many futurists are strongly committed to bringing about more desirable futures. Some qualified success stories include science and technology foresight, getting sustainability challenges onto the social agenda and small‐scale, distributed initiatives.

Research limitations/implications

Limitations of the scanning process include heavy reliance on publicly available material, prioritization of breadth over depth of analysis and the physical and cultural location of the researchers. Future iterations of the research should go beyond public material, undertake deeper analysis of scanning hits and draw in more non‐western and non‐English work.

Practical implications

The paper proposes four strategies for increasing the influence of futures work: methodological renewal, political engagement, individual capacity building and participatory approaches.

Originality/value

The paper uses the recently developed integral meta‐scanning framework to provide a novel view of the futures field. The findings will be of value to foresight practitioners that are seeking to influence public policy and sustainability.

Details

Foresight, vol. 11 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 12 April 2011

Andy Hines

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Abstract

Details

Foresight, vol. 13 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 1999

Richard A. Slaughter

This paper suggests that environmental scanning (ES) has been restricted to parts of the external world and has largely overlooked the inner one. In fact the inner/outer…

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3273

Abstract

This paper suggests that environmental scanning (ES) has been restricted to parts of the external world and has largely overlooked the inner one. In fact the inner/outer distinction has itself been lost sight of within Futures Studies (FS), as in many other fields of enquiry and action. The result is that much well‐intentioned and otherwise disciplined work takes place in a cramped empiricist frame that has, for good reason, been dubbed “flatland”. For ES to more adequately comprehend a richer and more complex reality, a broader scanning frame is needed. This paper provides a model for working toward that goal.

Details

Foresight, vol. 1 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

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Article
Publication date: 18 July 2008

Richard A. Slaughter

The purpose of this paper is to consider the view that America is “the land of the future”. It argues that, owing to its sponsorship of a model of development that is

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to consider the view that America is “the land of the future”. It argues that, owing to its sponsorship of a model of development that is exploitive and unsustainable, this is no longer the case and that US futurists, in particular, need to consciously re‐evaluate their roles and work.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper advances a cultural critique of US hegemony. It considers background myths and their role in creating “American exceptionalism” in various fields, including futures studies. It also critiques free market ideology, the role of corporations, market failures and the economics of exploitation. This leads to issues of truth and power and the view that a continuation of an ideology of “free enterprise” leads to the collapse of the global system.

Findings

The paper suggests a number of strategies for futurists to consider as ways of opening out their vision beyond current limitations.

Practical implications

A rationale is outlined that can support shifts in more progressive directions and moves toward more fruitful work.

Originality/value

The American futures enterprise is currently at risk from its uncritical association with dysfunctions in US society, culture and economy. The paper draws attention to some of these and indicates possible ways forward.

Details

Foresight, vol. 10 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

Keywords

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