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Article

Erik F. Øverland

Contemporary foresight activities are increasingly dominated by commitment to research methods and an ambition to found a sound theory of futures thinking. Arguably, there

Abstract

Purpose

Contemporary foresight activities are increasingly dominated by commitment to research methods and an ambition to found a sound theory of futures thinking. Arguably, there has been a general failure to examine and explicate the relationship between theory and method. As Poli; Karlsen & Karlsen; Aaltonen; Inayatullah and others argue, there is both a need and a will to develop a substantial foundation of futures studies that not only goes beyond epistemology, but explicitly tries to establish an ontological rationale for futures research as a post‐positivist scientific activity. Following along this line, the purpose of this paper is to represent a radical constructivist approach to the theory of latents and level of realities that transcends traditional phenomenology.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper also gives a brief outline on how Kant meets Latour and constitutes and reproduces two ontological areas, man and nature and argues in favour of a post‐post conception called “universal perspectivism”.

Findings

It is found that the foresight community and futurists must revert to some basic ontological assumptions about the future, e.g. as a reflection of human imagination or as a projection of today's situation, particularly the reproduction of the construction of an idea of the human being as such, and its opposite – what it is not.

Originality/value

The consequences for anticipation activities are tremendous: in forward looking activities we reproduce both the distinction between reality in itself and reality for us, or put differently, between appearances and latent. These are then linked to the differentiation between two basic ontological areas throughout all time modalities, nature and society (man). The link between pasts, presents and futures is getting closer.

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Article

Jan Erik Karlsen, Erik F. Øverland and Hanne Karlsen

This article aims to contribute to futures theory building by assessing the inherent ontological and epistemological presumptions in foresight studies. Such premises

Abstract

Purpose

This article aims to contribute to futures theory building by assessing the inherent ontological and epistemological presumptions in foresight studies. Such premises, which are usually embedded in foresight studies, are contrasted with sociological imagination and contemporary social science discourse.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper is a conceptual analysis of theoretical assumptions embedded in foresight studies.

Findings

Sociological lenses, including concepts like anticipation, latency, time, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity, change and plurality of images, offer clarity in terms of both futures studies and foresights.

Research limitations/implications

Explicating presumptions embedded in foresight methods helps recognition of how such methods shape the concepts of future and time. This is vital for assessment of the analytical products of foresights studies.

Originality/value

This research contributes to the ambition of linking the theoretical world of futures research and the practical world of foresights closer together by explicating key concepts and implicit assumptions in both fields.

Details

Foresight, vol. 12 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

Keywords

Abstract

Details

Foresight, vol. 12 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

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Article

Margunn Bjørnholt

The purpose of this paper is to outline the background as well as methodological and epistemological aspects to, and the effects of, a follow‐up study 30 years later of…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to outline the background as well as methodological and epistemological aspects to, and the effects of, a follow‐up study 30 years later of the work‐sharing couples project, which is a Norwegian, experimental research project in the early 1970s. The aim of the project is to promote gender equality and a better work/life balance in families. In this paper the variation in work‐sharing and post work‐sharing trajectories over the life‐course is explored, mainly focusing on the impact of the work‐sharing arrangement on the couples' relations, their work/life balance and the well‐being of participants, the core objectives of the original project.

Design/methodology/approach

The original project has a small scale, interventionist design based on couples working part‐time and sharing childcare and housework; effects on family life and gender equality are documented by questionnaires and time diaries. In the follow‐up study, retrospective life‐course couple interviews with the original participants are used.

Findings

Revisiting the original project produced new insights into, the subversive and radical use of sex‐role theory in early Norwegian family sociology as an instrument of changing gender relations. In the follow‐up study, the high level of participation and the long duration of the arrangement would seem to qualify for a heightened level of expectation as to the effects of the experiment on the participants' lives. A high proportion of the couples are still married, and the work‐sharing arrangement has been regarded by the majority of participants to have had a positive impact on their marital relation, work/life balance and well‐being.

Practical implications

Insights gained from revisiting this project may prove fruitful when confronting contemporary dilemmas of work/life balance, as well as demographic and environmental challenges.

Originality/value

The original project is unique internationally owing to its theoretically subversive, interventionist design and reformatory ambition. The longitudinal follow‐up of the experiment is also unique in family research, and of great value for researchers into gender equality and the family.

Details

Equal Opportunities International, vol. 28 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0261-0159

Keywords

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