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The Future: A Very Short Introduction by Jennifer M. Gidley (OUP, 2017)
BOOK REVIEW by Richard Slaughter, Founder: Foresight International, Brisbane
In the journal Foresight, 20(4): 443-446.
“[A] thoroughly researched and beautifully expressed invitation to look deeper at this fascinating field of enquiry…
Chapter [two] – futures multiplied – draws on a variety of sources to show how during the 1960s futures enquiry moved steadily away from empirical and extrapolative concerns toward more pluralistic approaches consistent with developments in the social sciences. This provides far greater meaning and explanatory power to notions of alternatives in general and alternative futures in particular. Futures enquiry became more democratic and global.
Chapter three on the ‘evolving scholarship of futures studies’ covers a lot of ground without sacrificing a certain necessary degree of depth. The main device employed is to show the evolution of the field from ‘critical -‘ to ‘cultural -‘ to ‘participatory -‘ and then finally to ‘integral futures.’ This is entirely appropriate as it both reflects more recent developments to futures per se as well as some of the ‘layers’ or approaches within futures work…
[Chapter four] turns to what is ironically termed ‘crystal balls, flying cars and robots.’ Such ‘pop futures’ icons are firmly put in their place and a refreshingly brief but effective critique advanced of the ‘transhumanist’ fallacy – i.e., that humans could one day merge with their machines…
The next theme is the conflict or tension between ‘technotopian’ and ‘human-centred futures’ … it clearly draws on the author’s own philosophical commitments and her impressive body of work…
[Chapter six] summarises both the great global challenges of our time and the equally broad range of global future alternatives that represent a collective ‘tool kit’ of possible responses.
It is well researched, concise and lucidly written. This excellent book also contains a useful guide to further reading and websites as well as a handy index.”
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OR TO BUY THE BOOK GO TO OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS WEBSITE
“The Future/المستقبل”- Translated by the Bahrain Authority for Culture & Antiquities هيئة البحرين للثقافة والآثار as part of the ‘Knowledge Transfer Project’ Directed by Prof Tahar Labib
Arabic translation of ‘The Future: A Very Short Introduction’ by Bahrain Authority for Culture & Antiquities ‘Knowledge Transfer Project’ (Dir Prof Tahar Labib).
“The Future/المستقبل” available in all book fairs in the Arab region, major libraries in Arab countries, Saqi books/UK, Jarir books/USA. Bookshops stocking the book include: