Annotated ibliography of futures studies books, articles and resources

Sign up for our Free newsletter



Research on Causal Layered Analysis (CLA)

Causal layered analysis (CLA) is offered as a new research theory (drawing from poststructuralism, Tantric epistemology and futures studies) and method. As a theory it seeks to integrate empiricist, interpretive, critical, and action learning modes of knowing at inner and outer levels. As a method, its utility is not in predicting the future but in creating transformative spaces for the creation of alternative futures. It is also likely to be useful in developing more effective — deeper, inclusive, longer term — policy.  

Causal layered analysis  "Causal layered analysis: the four levels"  consists of four levels: the litany, social causes, discourse/worldview, and myth/metaphor. The first level is the litany — the official unquestioned view of reality. The second level is the social causation level, the systemic perspective. The data of the litany is explained and questioned at this second level. The third level is the discourse/worldview. Deeper, unconsciously held ideological, worldview and discursive assumptions are unpacked at this level. As well, how different stakeholders construct the litany and system is explored. The fourth level is the myth/metaphor, the unconscious emotive dimensions of the issue.  

The challenge is to conduct research that moves up and down these layers of analysis and thus is inclusive of different ways of knowing. Different perspectives (including those of stakeholders, ideologies and epistemes) are in particular brought in the third and fourth levels – at the levels of  worldview and myth. This allows for breadth. These differences are then used to reconstruct the more visible levels – social policy and litany.  

CLA as well can be applied not just to the external world but to the inner world of meanings – the litany of self-representation, the system of identities, the discourses of the architecture of the mind, and foundational myths and metaphors that define the construction of identity.  Conceptual movement through depth and breadth, allows for the creation of authentic alternative futures and integrated transformation. CLA begins and ends by questioning the future.  

CLA defined, click here

 Published and unpublished research on CLA is presented below.  


Sohail Inayatullah, Causal layered analysis: deepening the future. Chapter from Questioning the Future: methods and tools for organizational and societal transformation.

Sohail Inayatullah, Causal layered analysis: theory, historical context, and case studies. Introductory Chapter from the Causal Layered Analysis Reader. theory and case studies of an integrative and transformative methodology.

Jose Ramos, Transcendence of a method: the story of casual layered analysis.


Marcus Barber, No Mere Drop in the Ocean 

Nicholas Fleming, Understanding ‘what’s really going on’ as a basis for transforming thinking, action and our cities 

Jennifer Gidley, Creating a new spiritual mythology for western culture 

Sohail Inayatullah, Ageing – alternative futures and policy choices 

Murray May and Stuart Hill, Unpacking aviation travel futures – an application of causal layered analysis 

Paul Mcquillan, Youth Ministry in a world of diversity 

Rowena Morrow, What is the debate around paid maternity leave really about? Using cla to delve under the surface. 

Jose Ramos, Conceptualising agency through the world social forum process: A layered analysis of alternative globalization 

Debbie Terranova, Navigating by the stars: using futures methodologies to create a preferred vision for the workforce  

Debbie Terranova, Fathoming the ageing workforce debate 

David Turnbull, CLA as pedagogy in studies of science and technology 


David Rawnsley, A futures perspective in the school curriculum 

Paul Wildman, From causal layered analysis to causal layered synthesis

Sabina Head, Forward Theatre: Futures Studies in Drama


Hui-Ju Chiang , CLA on Ageing in Taiwan 

Sohail Inayatulah, CLA applied to Queensland educational policy 

Seong Won Park, CLA Applied to Samsang bribery case 


Simon Heilesen and Neils Erik Willi,
How to predict the future of print publishing. Draft paper, Malaga University, March 2004. 

Marcus Bussey, Microvita and the body politic.

Description of CLA by Jan Lee Martin, The Futures Foundation - links CLA with scenarios - links to university futures - CLA in farsi


Sheryl Anderson, CLA on aging using multiple methods 

Sohail Inayatulah, CLA – ppt 

Nick Price, CLA sheet for facilitators 

Colin Russo, Establishing a valid consultation process with CLA

Web site design and development by Alb-Future (Click Here) Search Engine Optimization
by A1-Optimization