Arab Futures Studies: The Effect of Methodologies on Scientific and Societal Results

The author addresses the theoretical, methodological, and organizational dimensions of the most significant futurology studies carried out in the Arab World, examining the results and final conclusions of these. Special attention is given to the ability of these efforts to raise awareness of the importance of forecasting; the scientific attempt to recognize the importance of forecasting; the ability to derive realistic alternative futures and whether these were able to play a tangible role in guiding societal development and informing political decision-makers. Data on future studies in the Arab World is also analyzed in order to understand the reasons behind the broadly limited success of studies produced in the region, both in terms of scientific and societal factors, particularly since most of the studies under consideration failed to formulate scenarios approximating reality. The paper concludes that to a large degree this failure is due to the fact that Arab future studies, were founded on materialist and positivist assumptions. It suggests that this approach has had negative implications for analysis, and in the choice of areas of focus and interest, as well as in terms of deriving alternatives.

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The author addresses the theoretical, methodological, and organizational dimensions of the most significant futurology studies carried out in the Arab World, examining the results and final conclusions of these. Special attention is given to the ability of these efforts to raise awareness of the importance of forecasting; the scientific attempt to recognize the importance of forecasting; the ability to derive realistic alternative futures and whether these were able to play a tangible role in guiding societal development and informing political decision-makers. Data on future studies in the Arab World is also analyzed in order to understand the reasons behind the broadly limited success of studies produced in the region, both in terms of scientific and societal factors, particularly since most of the studies under consideration failed to formulate scenarios approximating reality. The paper concludes that to a large degree this failure is due to the fact that Arab future studies, were founded on materialist and positivist assumptions. It suggests that this approach has had negative implications for analysis, and in the choice of areas of focus and interest, as well as in terms of deriving alternatives.

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