Foundations of Futures Studies
Human Science for a New Era: History, Purposes, Knowledge
Futures studies is a new field of inquiry involving systematic and explicit thinking about alternative futures. It aims to demystify the future, make possibilities for the future more known to us, and increase human control over the future. This book summarizes and expands contributions of futurists to the envisioning power and well-being of humanity. Bell brings together futurist intellectual tools, describing and explaining not only the methods, but also the nature, concepts, theories, and exemplars of the field.
Foundations of Futures Studies fulfills Bell's five main purposes for writing this two-volume effort: (1) to show that futures studies, like other fields from anthropology to zoology, exists as an identifiable sphere of intellectual activity; (2) to create a teaching instrument that can be used as a basic text for core courses in futures studies; (3) to futurize the thinking of specialists in other disciplines; (4) to contribute to the further development and improvement of futures studies; and (5) to provide tools to empower both ordinary people and leaders to act in ways that create better futures for themselves and their societies. Bell maintains that despite its sometimes doomsday rhetorical style and widespread use by special interests, futures studies offers hope for the future of humanity and concrete ways of realizing that hope in the real world of our everyday lives. It will appeal to all interested in futures studies, as well as sociologists, economists, political scientists, and historians.
"Foundations of Futures Studies represents the finest thinking in the field, as both an original work and a synthesis of existing work.... Destined to become a classic."
—Claire W. Gilbert, editor and publisher, Blazing Tattles
"Arguably the most definitive study ever done of the future studies field and a must read for futurists who want a holistic grasp of it."
—William C. Johnson, Futurics
"Bell has poured all his knowledge and experience into it, which is no mean matter, and has created a work that is profound, extensive and filled with elements for reflection."
—Papers de Prospectiva (Spain)
"A must read for almost everyone within the social sciences."
"This book is a milestone in the development of the futures field... an ambitious attempt to capture what we know about the study of the future—Bell's version of Francis Bacon's Novum Organum."
—Peter C. Bishop, Technological Forecasting and Social Change
"This is a great book, representing a great achievement by Professor Bell. It creates an important plateau upon which the field of future studies can achieve new heights."
—Gary Gappert, director, Institute for Future Studies, University of Akron
"This book is a masterpiece! It makes an extraordinary contribution to studies of the future. . . . Bell has produced an incredibly fresh, careful, solidly detailed book that will serve as a landmark in the field for many years to come."
—Allen Tough, Ontario Institute for Studies hi Education, University of Toronto
"Wendell Bell has produced a stunning tour de force which should convince even the most obstinate detractor that futures studies is a worthy academic field which deserves respect and support. . . . [It] well documents most of the important facets, history, issues, trends, persons, and institutions in the futures field."
—James A. Dator, Director, Hawaii Research Center for Futures Studies, University of Hawaii at Manoa