ERIC Number: ED199166
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980-Sep
The Futures Field. Paper P-95.
If futures studies is to progress beyond the formative stages, it must agree upon a set of premises, develop a common language, focus research efforts, and set useful objectives. To begin these processes, this paper examines basic premises, proposes criteria for judging relevance and progress in the field, and speculates on possible directions. The document is presented in three major parts. In the first part, an overview is presented of futures studies premises, objectives, tools, practitioners, and organizations. Basic premises include that the future is not predictable, alternative futures exist, and future outcomes can be influenced by individual choices. Principal objectives suggested by these premises include identifying possible choices about the future, examining particular paths in detail, and selecting and implementing particular paths. Part two identifies major criticisms of the futures field, including that it contains no clear framework or theories, overpromises results, contains inadequate tools and methodology, is not useful to decision makers, and is not effective in changing perceptions. Criteria for responding to these criticisms are suggested. In part three, possible future directions are suggested and one scenario is identified as being most likely--that the futures field will eventually be subsumed in some larger context. The conclusion is that, even when the futures field becomes integrated with other disciplines, it will leave distinctive marks on social planning. These marks will include demystification of social planning, a deeper understanding of social change processes, more effective integration of qualitative and quantitative components in planning, and a more balanced multidisciplinary approach to planning. (DB)
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Institute for the Future, Menlo Park, CA.
Note: For related documents, see SO 013 225-228.