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Towards a History of World Futures Studies

Focusing on collective initiatives (Part #1)

Methodological criteria

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The focus here is explicitly on collective initiatives involving a degree of worldwide participation. Historical development of futures studies by individuals following 1945 is for example a focus of the study of Wendell Bell (Foundations of Future Studies: human science for a new era, 1997). The concern here is not with the substance of futures studies and its development, as notably documented by Richard Slaughter (The Knowledge Base of Futures Studies, 2005).

The exercise follows from an effort to document the reports of the Club of Rome and the bodies which had in some way been associated with its history (Club of Rome Reports and Bifurcations: a 40-year overview, 2009). As noted there, the approach recognizes the tendency of different collective initiatives to lay claim to a degree of priority or special merit in exploring the future. It is unclear that any history will do justice to the associated dynamics and their problematic consequences for the world.