A Short History of Foresight
A short version of the history of foresight and futures studies.
This is an extract from my PhD thesis that provides a summary overview of the history of foresight. Warning: it’s a long read with references, so you can download a PDF version by clicking the red button.
If you cite or re-use anything from this history, please use the following as a reference: Maree Conway, Foresight Futures, 2021. Thanks.
Humans have used many ways to call on the future such as oracles, divination, prophesy and palmistry (Milojević 2002; Godhe & Goode 2018). As Bell (2009, p. 2) writes: “Thinking about the future … is not new … In every known society, people have conceptions of time and the future, even though some of their conceptions appear diverse”. Andersson’s timeline of futures studies (2007) demonstrates how early oral and mystic approaches evolved over time to the point where thinking about the future was formalised as the field of Futures Studies in the post-World War II period. Histories of Western futures studies are numerous and include Moll (1996); Bell (…