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Futures Studies

The following sources are recommended by an expert whose research specialty is the future.


Six Superlative Sources

· Future Survey. Edited by Michael Marien. Published monthly since 1979 by the World Future Society ( Fifty abstracts of important books, reports, and articles are prepared every month. In all, over 16,000 abstracts are available; about 5,000 easily accessed on the WFS website. Your best bet in appreciating the range of contemporary futures-thinking. This contains many valuable abstracts on trends, forecasts, possibilities, and policy proposals in a wide variety of sectors (health, education, environment, world affairs, etc.).

· Encyclopedia of the Future. Edited by George Thomas Kurian and Graham T.T. Molitor. Macmillan Reference, 1996/1,115p in two volumes. Some 500 entries also enable a broad appreciation of futures-thinking. Molitor is Vice President of the World Future Society. Kurian is a leading encyclopedist.

· Foundations of Futures Studies: Human Science for a New Era. Wendell Bell (Professor of Sociology, Yale). Transaction Publishers, 1997/744p in two volumes. The best introductory textbook, on the purposes, assumptions, and methods of this "transdisciplinary field" or "multifield."

· 2025: Scenarios of U.S. and Global Society Reshaped by Science and Technology. Joseph F. Coates, John B. Mahaffie, and Andy Hines (all Coates and Jarratt Consultants, Washington). Oakhill Press, 1996/518p. Provides 83 high-probability forecasts for 2025, and 15 chapters on such topics as information, genetics, energy, materials, global environmental management, transportation, food, health, and work. Each chapter suggests impacts on World 1 (the affluent world), World 2 (the bulk of the world's population), and World 3 (the destitute nations). Coates is arguably the leading U.S. futurist.

· Global Trends 2005: An Owner's Manual for the Next Decade. Michael J. Mazaar (Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington). St. Martin's Press, Aug 1999/330p. Identifies six broad trends reshaping the U.S. and the world, and distills three important lessons for our time.

· A Short History of the Future (Third Edition). W. Warren Wagar (Distinguished Teaching Prof of History, SUNY-Binghamton). University of Chicago Press, Sept 1999/324p. A work of "non-fictional fiction" first published in 1989, looking back from 2200 and describing three eras. Wagar is a leading H.G. Wells scholar and has taught a very successful "History of the Future" course at Binghamton for more than 20 years. Unfortunately, most students have no access to such a grand and authoritative overview of where we may be headed.

Other Excellent Sources

· Preparing for the 21st Century. Paul Kennedy (Professor of History, Yale). Vintage Books, 1994/428p. Still of value.

· Why Futures Studies? Eleonora Barbieri Masini (Prof of Sociology, Gregorian University, Rome). Grey Seal Books, 1993/144p. A briefer volume by a leading European futurist, covering much the same ground as Wendell Bell's book, Foundations of Futures Studies.

· The Future Is Ours: Foreseeing, Managing and Creating the Future by Graham H. May (Leeds Metropolitan University, UK). Praeger, 1996/253p. Another good introduction.

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