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Foundations of Futures Studies: Human Science for a New Era: History, Purposes, Knowledge Paperback – August 24, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-0765805393 ISBN-10: 0765805391

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Foundations of Futures Studies: Human Science for a New Era: History, Purposes, Knowledge + Foundations of Futures Studies: Human Science for a New Era: Values, Objectivity, and the Good Society (Human Science for a New Era S) + Futuring: The Exploration of the Future
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Product Details

  • Series: Human Science for a New Era (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 390 pages
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers (August 24, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765805391
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765805393
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #641,296 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Foundations of Futures Studies represents the finest thinking in the field, as both an original work and a synthesis of existing work.... Destined to become a classic."

—Claire W. Gilbert, editor and publisher, Blazing Tattles

"Arguably the most definitive study ever done of the future studies field and a must read for futurists who want a holistic grasp of it."

—William C. Johnson, Futurics

"Bell has poured all his knowledge and experience into it, which is no mean matter, and has created a work that is profound, extensive and filled with elements for reflection."

—Papers de Prospectiva (Spain)

"A must read for almost everyone within the social sciences."


"This book is a milestone in the development of the futures field... an ambitious attempt to capture what we know about the study of the future—Bell's version of Francis Bacon's Novum Organum."

—Peter C. Bishop, Technological Forecasting and Social Change

"This is a great book, representing a great achievement by Professor Bell. It creates an important plateau upon which the field of future studies can achieve new heights."

—Gary Gappert, director, Institute for Future Studies, University of Akron

"This book is a masterpiece! It makes an extraordinary contribution to studies of the future. . . . Bell has produced an incredibly fresh, careful, solidly detailed book that will serve as a landmark in the field for many years to come."

—Allen Tough, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto

"Wendell Bell has produced a stunning tour de force which should convince even the most obstinate detractor that futures studies is a worthy academic field which deserves respect and support. . . . [It] well documents most of the important facets, history, issues, trends, persons, and institutions in the futures field."

—James A. Dator, Director, Hawaii Research Center for Futures Studies, University of Hawaii at Manoa

"Nobody . . . knows more about what practitioners prefer to call 'futures research' than Wendell Bell. . . . His peers are already praising Foundations as futurist classic."

 —Geroge Magazine

About the Author

Wendell Bell is professor emeritus of sociology at Yale University, where he also served as chair of the department. Bell has written more than 200 articles and authored or co-authored numerous books, including Social Area Analysis, Public Leadership, and Foundations of Futures Studies (two volumes).

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Darlene williams on February 20, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The book begins by giving an extensive background about the subject on future studies. The author introduces such founders to the subject like Lasswell, Kahn, and RAND. Originally futures study/forecasting was primarily used by the military. The author writes, "purpose of future studies are to discover or invent, examine & evaluate, and propose possible, probable and preferable future." Looking to alternative futures and furthering that discussion the author mentions Alvin Toffler. Case studies are then offered to illustrate either how forecasting can predict possible disasters and/or show how alternative futures can shape the future. Re-iterating that point, the author presents nine "key assumptions" and three "general assumptions." Last sections in the book the author looks to the discussion of whether future studies is "science or an art." Followed by a proposal for epistemology for future studies. Lastly, the author reviews methods and describes the methods thoroughly to capture their diversity and ingenuity.
Concluding remarks on the book:
A person who looks to learn/discover the subject on future studies should begin with this book. As a reader, you will begin to discover the introduction of the subject, where it is today, and how people who actively pursue the subject combine/implement the study to everyday use. One important key to future study/alternative futures is the application of forecasting. The author offers a good overview on the subject. Today, forecasting is applied by many companies, corporations, and other institutions.
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Format: Paperback
With the preface to the 2003 edition, Bell begins this book again with the same purpose for his readers. In volume one alone, Bell distinguishes six main subjects about future studies and how one is to look at alternative futures. In the beginning, Bell goes into great detail about the topic of future studies and examines the roots and development of this new field of inquiry. He searches within theory, and past futurist researchers to find future research efforts so that its topics in each section are clearly to the point. This book summarizes and also enlarges notable contributions from other futurists to help validate Bell's own opinions about the purpose, assumptions, and methods of futures studies as well as questioning it as an art or science.

Bell is continually trying to expose the future and asks readers to think about alternative futures or scenarios with the understanding of its possibilities based on methods, theory and nature. Someone who is unsure of what future studies is or wants to learn more about the topic should begin with this novel because it gives a precise encounter of how these applications are based, used and how forecasting plays an impacting role. Bell does an excellent job at maneuvering scholarly tools to describe the "foundations of futures studies" giving its "history, purpose and knowledge".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Derek on December 30, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bell does a great job explaining the philosophy underpinning futures studies. For those who are not as well versed in this area, he gets into arguments on terminology, which to me was often unnecessary and verbose. I personally disagree with some of his assessments of terminology. Still that does not take away from the fact this is an excellent reference which anyone engaging in futures studies should read.
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