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Sociological contributions to futures' theory building

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PurposeThis article aims to contribute to futures theory building by assessing the inherent ontological and epistemological presumptions in foresight studies. Such premises, which are usually embedded in foresight studies, are contrasted with sociological imagination and contemporary social science discourse. Design/methodology/approachThis paper is a conceptual analysis of theoretical assumptions embedded in foresight studies. FindingsSociological lenses, including concepts like anticipation, latency, time, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity, change and plurality of images, offer clarity in terms of both futures studies and foresights. Research limitations/implicationsExplicating presumptions embedded in foresight methods helps recognition of how such methods shape the concepts of future and time. This is vital for assessment of the analytical products of foresights studies. Originality/valueThis research contributes to the ambition of linking the theoretical world of futures research and the practical world of foresights closer together by explicating key concepts and implicit assumptions in both fields.
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Keywords: Epistemology; Forecasting; Philosophy; Sociology

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2010

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