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Article
Publication date: 30 October 2018

Richard A Slaughter

Abstract

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foresight, vol. 20 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

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Article
Publication date: 10 November 2014

Richard A. Slaughter

The purposes of this paper are as follows. Part one examines the role of denialism in the context of proposals advanced through the much-abused Limits to Growth (LtG…

Abstract

Purpose

The purposes of this paper are as follows. Part one examines the role of denialism in the context of proposals advanced through the much-abused Limits to Growth (LtG) project. Part two uses three sets of criteria (domains of reality, worldviews and values) to characterise some of the interior human and social aspects of the “denial machine.” It uses these criteria to address some vital, but currently under-appreciated “interior” aspects of descent. (N.B. A succinct “primer” or overview of the concept and underpinning rationale for notions of “descent pathways” is provided in the introduction to this special issue.)

Design/methodology/approach

The paper draws on a number of authoritative sources that track the dimensions of global change and, specifically, the ways that humanity is tracking towards Dystopian overshoot-and-collapse futures. The significance of the LtG project is assessed in this context. Part two employs the criteria noted above to identify and open out the centrality of the human and cultural interiors.

Findings

Responses to the LtG project are shown to have deprived humanity of the clarity and will to respond effectively to the emerging global emergency. The rise of climate change denialism has followed suit and made effective responses increasingly difficult. A new focus, however, on some of the dynamics of reality domains, worldviews and values, clarifies both the nature of the problem and prefigures a range of solutions, some of which are briefly outlined.

Research limitations/implications

This is primarily a conceptual paper that suggests a range of practical responses. For example, re-purposing parts of the current information technology (IT) infrastructure away from financial and economic indices to those tracking the health of the planet. Also translating the case put forward here for a new generation of Institutions of Foresight (IoFs) into real-world start-ups and examples. Further research is needed into the uses and limitations both of positive and negative views of futures. It is suggested that the latter have more value than is commonly realised.

Practical implications

In addition to those stated above, the practical implications include new uses for IT infrastructure based on worldcentric – rather than financial and economic worldviews; designing and implementing a new generation of IoFs; and finding new ways to inform the public of impending Dystopian outcomes without exacerbating avoidance and depression.

Social implications

The social implications are profound. Currently, humanity has allowed itself to “tune out” and ignore many of the well-founded “signals” (from the global system) and warnings (from those who have observed and tracked real-world changes). As a result, it has outgrown the capacity of the planet to support the current population, let alone the 10 billion currently projected by the United Nations (UN). Something must give. Applied foresight can provide essential lead time to act before human actions are overwhelmed by forces beyond its control.

Originality/value

The paper draws together material from hitherto disparate sources to assess the LtG project. It also deploys key concepts from an integral perspective that shed new light on human and cultural forces that determine how people respond to the prospect of Dystopian futures. In so doing, it provides insight into why we are where we are and also into some of the means by which humanity can respond. Specifically, it suggests a shift from collapse narratives to those of descent.

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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: 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…

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: 29 August 2008

Richard Slaughter

This article aims to provide a response to the various contributions published in a special issue of foresight on “Is America the land of the future?”.

Abstract

Purpose

This article aims to provide a response to the various contributions published in a special issue of foresight on “Is America the land of the future?”.

Design/methodology/approach

The article is a commentary on the various works in the special issue.

Findings

If these essays have gone even part way toward illuminating the underlying problematic of human and cultural development, it will have been worthwhile.

Originality/value

Provides a viewpoint on the special issue “Is America the land of the future?”.

Details

Foresight, vol. 10 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-6689

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 28 August 2009

Richard Slaughter

The paper aims to introduce the first iteration of an international research project into the “state of play” in the futures field (SoPiFF) using methodology developed at

Abstract

Purpose

The paper aims to introduce the first iteration of an international research project into the “state of play” in the futures field (SoPiFF) using methodology developed at the Australian Foresight Institute (AFI).

Design/methodology/approach

The paper outlines the overall approach and the methods it employed, along with some implications and emerging themes from this first iteration.

Findings

The paper casts new light on patterns of activity in the futures/foresight arena that, in turn, lead to policy questions, including those of purpose and effectiveness.

Originality/value

The SoPiFF project is of interest not only for its early results, but also for the use of the metascanning methodology outlined here. At one level it draws attention to the nature of the foresight practitioner's toolkit. At another it may also help to guide decisions about future resourcing options and the nature of training that is offered within the domain.

Details

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

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 2002

Richard A. Slaughter

This paper looks at shifts that have occurred in underlying methodological paradigms in futures studies (FS) over the last several decades. It suggests a progression from…

Abstract

This paper looks at shifts that have occurred in underlying methodological paradigms in futures studies (FS) over the last several decades. It suggests a progression from forecasting to scenarios to social construction and seeks to account for the rise of the latter.

Details

Foresight, vol. 4 no. 3
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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Article
Publication date: 9 August 2013

James W. Breaux

The purpose of this paper is to look at the communications strategy of the wake up call suggested by Slaughter and to explore alternatives and other perspectives on its

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to look at the communications strategy of the wake up call suggested by Slaughter and to explore alternatives and other perspectives on its transmissions and receptions.

Design/methodology/approach

This review uses a topical literature survey and synthesis method to critique conventional vs integral‐type communications strategies and suggests alternatives.

Findings

Communications are tricky. The alignment of the sender and receiver are crucial and can be improved or degraded depending on the contextual framework of each, as well as the perceived agency and interaction of the sender/receiver actors.

Research limitations/implications

This work was accomplished from the single viewpoint of the author, with literature references and a US‐centric, western bias.

Practical implications

The discussion about the variety of communication stratagem from the perspective of the receiver and, the context of the message, as well as the motivation of the sender may provoke changes which in turn could allow greater chance for success in establishing a glide path to sustainability.

Originality/value

This work is referenced to highlight the work of others, including the author of the book reviewed. The synthesis and suggested communications approach is original to the author of the paper.

Details

On the Horizon, vol. 21 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1074-8121

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Article
Publication date: 18 July 2008

Adam Gerber and Michel Godet

The purpose of this paper is to respond to Richard Slaughter's essay on “Is America the ‘land of the future’?”

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to respond to Richard Slaughter's essay on “Is America the ‘land of the future’?”

Design/methodology/approach

The paper draws on a variety of literature and the authors' opinions to present the case in favour of Enlightenment values.

Findings

The paper finds that the USA is perhaps the most faithful political expression of the eighteenth century Enlightenment whose values have since been assimilated throughout the world. Enlightenment values are not beyond criticism, but that does not justify uninformed anti‐American attitudes.

Originality/value

The paper provides a counter‐balance to Slaughter's essay by arguing for a reasoned debate on the issues.

Details

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

Keywords

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