Reconsidering the theoretical foundations of prospective practices (PART 2) – a field theory perspective

In this post I consider the theory of “social fields” developed by two influential American sociologists, Neil Fligstein and Doug McAdam, drawing principally on their book A Theory of Fields (Oxford University Press, 2012). A Theory of Fields offers “a general theory of social change and stability rooted in a view of social life as …

Read More

Perspectives on ‘Limits to Growth’

Videos of talks given at a symposium last March held to celebrate the 40th anniversary of publishing the Limits to Growth (LtG) – hosted by the Club of Rome and the Smithsonian Institution – are available online: http://www.youtube.com/course?list=EC2817969CA87E5B47. Aside from a highly entertaining talk given by American geologist Richard Alley on climate change and energy, …

Read More

Priorities for developing sustainability-oriented foresight

A number of priorities – and associated opportunities – for sustainability-oriented foresight need to be better understood and addressed. Each also requires successfully addressing related barriers and challenges. The following are four areas where ‘foresight methods’ can assist: 1) Enabling greater ‘anticipatory learning’. The opposite of anticipatory learning is ‘learning-by-shock’ (see this paper which defines …

Read More

Sustainability impasses and futures practices

How can ‘sustainability impasses’ be best understood and dealt with (ideally broken)? This increasingly seems like one of the most important questions. Just look at the situations of (mostly) inaction and major, increasing conflicts around the management of the Murray-Darling Basin in Australia over the proposed ‘Basin Plan’ for more sustainable water use, over major …

Read More