School of Futures Studies

Futures studies reflects on how today’s changes (or the lack thereof) become tomorrow’s reality. It includes attempts to analyze the sources, patterns, and causes of change and stability in order to develop foresight and to map alternative futures. The subjects and methods of futures studies include possible, probable and desirable variation or alternative transformations of the present, both social and “natural” (i.e. independent of human impact). A broad field of enquiry, futures studies explores and represents what the present could become from multiple interdisciplinary perspectives.

Futures studies takes as one of its important attributes (epistemological starting points) the on-going effort to analyze images of the future and distinguish possible, probable and preferred (normative) futures. This effort includes collecting quantitative and qualitative data about the possibility, probability and desirability of change toward the emergence of alternative futures. Like historical studies that try to explain what happened in the past and why, the efforts of futures studies try to understand the latent potential of the present. This requires the development of theories of present conditions and how conditions might change. For this task, futures studies, as it is generally undertaken, uses a wide range of theoretical models and practical methods, many of which come from other academic disciplines (including economics, sociology, geography, history, engineering, mathematics, psychology, technology,tourism, physics, biology, astronomy, and theology).

Two factors usually distinguish futures studies from the research conducted by these other disciplines (although all disciplines overlap, to differing degrees):

  1. futures studies often examines not only probable but also possible and preferable futures
  2. futures studies typically attempts to gain a holistic or systemic view based on insights from a range of different disciplines.
A view of the Mandelbrot fractal set.

Courses/Projects edit

Intended edit

  • FS 102 Literature of Futures Studies
  • FS 222 Methodologies in Futures Studies
  • FS 333 Psychology in Futures Studies
  • FS 334 Sociology in Futures Studies
  • FS 339 Systems Science in Futures Studies
  • FS 399 Futurism in Business and Marketing
  • FS 410 The Future of Media
  • FS 411 The Future of Technology
  • FS 412 The Future of the Internet
  • FS 413 The Future of Politics
  • FS 414 The Future of Pedagogy
  • FS 415 The Future of Humanity
  • FS 416 The Future of Space Exploration
  • FS 417 The Future of Energy
  • FS 444 Applied Futurism

Active participants edit

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School news edit

  • December 27, 2006 - School founded!

Individuals of interest edit

See also edit

External links edit