An Integral extension of causal layered analysis

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Futures, 2008, 40 (2), pp. 150 - 159
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Causal layered analysis (CLA) is a futures method developed by Sohail Inayatullah and since applied by numerous futurists across multiple content areas. The central assumption of CLA is that there are different levels of reality and ways of knowing; beneath the popular conceptions of an issue (the litany) and more academic analysis of systemic causes are deep worldview commitments, discourses, myths and metaphors. This layered understanding of reality initially seems to resonate with ideas from Ken Wilber's Integral Theory, which identifies developmental levels across behavioural, social, psychological and cultural quadrants. On closer inspection, there are some important theoretical and conceptual differences between CLA and Integral Theory; from an Integral perspective, the layers in CLA confuse quadrants, developmental levels and developmental lines. In this paper, I explore these differences in search of a resolution that will allow the fruitful application of CLA within an Integral Futures framework. I find that CLA, as currently conceived, is not an Integral method in its own right. However, CLA has great value for Integral Futures work as a way of drawing attention to the neglected cultural dimension of futures. Further, with some modifications and extensions, a more Integral application of CLA seems possible. © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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