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The Causal Layered Analysis Reader (2004)


The Causal Layered Analysis (CLA) Reader: Theory and Case Studies of an Integrative and Transformative Methodology

Edited by Sohail Inayatullah

Tamkang University Press, Tamsui, Taiwan, 2004

This is the first CLA Reader which presents Causal Layered Analysis as a new theory and method within futures studies. The edited collection is divided into five parts which include theoretical context, methodological comparisons, case studies, a discussion on CLA as an evolving methodology and appendices to help in the research and action learning process.



The Causal Layered Analysis (CLA) Reader: Theory and Case Studies of an Integrative and Transformative Methodology

Edited by Sohail Inayatullah

Tamkang University Press, Tamsui, Taiwan, 200


Contributing Authors:

Johan Galtung, Michael Shapiro, Zia Sardar Richard Slaughter, David Turnbull, Patricia Kelly, Marcus Bussey, Phil Graham, Leigh Canny, Dennis List, Alan Fricker, Ivana Milojevic, Sanne Tikjoeb, Paul Wildman, Jennifer Gidley, Christopher Jones, Murray May, Stuart Hill, James White, Phillip Daffara, Marcus Anthony, Serafino De Simone, Jose Ramos and Colin Russo

As a new theory and method, Causal Layered Analysis:

  • Seeks to integrate empiricist, interpretive, critical and action learning modes of knowing
  • Unpacks conventional futures
  • develops more effective policy
  • Creates transformative spaces
  • Deepens scenarios
  • Systematically allows for the inclusion of the perspectives of stakeholders, and the ideologies they hold
  • Can be used as textual critique or in workshop formats
  • Consists of multiple levels (the litany, systems, worldview and myth/metaphor)
  • Begins and ends with questioning

The book is divided into five parts.

Part 1 – Introduction to the Reader: theoretical, methodological context and case studies.

Part 2 – Methodological comparisons

Part 3 – Case Studies including genetic engineering, poverty, sustainability, racism, globalization, education, pedagogy for engineers, teaching futures, aviation, global media, Japan, City futures, technocracy and integrated intelligence.

Part 4 – As an evolving methodology, including chapters on the cookbook approach, deep participation and action learning.

Part 5 – Appendices to help in the research and action learning process.

Length: 576 pages

1 review for The Causal Layered Analysis Reader (2004)

  1. metafuture-admin1

    Inayatullah’s Causal Layered Analysis is the first major new futures theory and method since Delphi, almost forty years ago. CLA is a very sophisticated way to categorize different views of and concerns about the futures, and then to use them to help groups think about the futures far more effectively than they could by using any one of the layers alone, as most theory/methods do.

    James Dator, Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Hawaii

    Another masterwork: Sohail Inayatullah draws from scholarship of rare breadth and depth, yet communicates with simple clarity. In this book, his informed choice of authors and topics has again created a collection that makes a significant contribution to the
    world’s wisdom as we face turbulent and uncertain futures.

    Jan Lee Martin, Founding Director, The Futures Foundation

    It is a given in futures work that we challenge the assumptions; CLA is a great system for making differing assumptions transparent at the worldview and myth level. We are all indebted to Inayatullah for conceiving CLA and working to help the rest of us understand it.

    Marsha L. Rhea, CAE, Senior Futurist, Institute for Alternative Futures

    CLA is an exceptionally valuable tool.

    Jennifer Brice, GM, Fuji Xerox Australia

    CLA is one of the most powerful methodologies available to the contemporary foresight practitioner.

    Dr Joseph Voros, Australian Foresight Institute

    Pace-setting work.

    Graham Molitor, President, Public Policy Forecasting and Vice-president, World Future Society

    CLA is one of the most exciting and useful foresight methods that has been added to the futures field ‘toolbox’ in recent times. It is an integrated method that works well in group processes and has the added advantage of getting groups to a ‘depth’ understanding of problems and issues in a comparatively quick time. At the same time it is a method that breaks the rigidity of ‘rational’ thinking and is a powerful mechanism for generating ideas for alternative futures.

    Peter Hayward. Swinburne University

    A cornerstone of Futures Methodology

    Peter Bishop, Associate Professor of Human Sciences and Chair, Graduate Program in Studies of the Future, University of Houston-Clear Lake

    It is a very useful method to explore possibilities from different dimensions and I find that it can be used with little help even by the first time students.

    Ryota Ono, Professor, Aichi University

    CLA was one of the most powerful methods we used during our workshops. The method quickly highlighted participants’ very different worldviews, myths and metaphors and this was a key learning from the workshop. And it did not finish with the workshops. For example, one participant has used the method at home to help her try to understand her teenagers – why they do what they do – and for her to develop more effective reactions to her children’s actions.

    Peter Black, Principal Research Scientist, Australian Government Department

    CLA offers a way to create new and useful visions of the future by challenging assumptions, probing causes for change, and understanding the structural assumptions and myths that often constrain our thinking. New horizons open when these boundaries are identified, understood and questioned. In short CLA is a liberating method that forces us to ask why we think about the future as we do.

    Director, Ted Gordon, AC/UNU/Millennium Project

    Casual Layered Analysis is a gift to all New Millennium researchers. CLA is cutting edge, interior, in depth and simple to master. Using CLA leads us toward a richer understanding of the underpinnings of social problems and our response through social innovation. Applying CLA as a research tool transforms understanding and yields rich data about the world in which we live. I’ ve especially found using the CLA methodology useful in my Community Futures practice.

    Katie Donnelly, Sociologist, Community Futures, Colorado Springs

    CLA is a conceptually elegant, simple and effective method in obtaining greater breath and depth of inquiry, research on the nature of the past, present and future issues. A key benefit of layered analysis is that it enables multiple access, equity and expression when framing our views. Thus through the creation of a richer analysis, participants are able to develop new ways of thinking, knowing and solutions generation. To learn, know and use CLA has become a powerful way to transform myself, others and organisations.

    Steve Gould, Australian Local Government

    Business is at a critical crossroad between going down the path of losing meaning and purpose or reestablishing a new worldview based on humanity, sustainability and equity. The power of a great many organisations today exceeds many, if not most , nations. This provides an opportunity for a deeper worldview that Sohail Inayatullah’s CLA layered approach can bring into reality. As a leading business school Mt Eliza Business School is proud of its association with Professor Inayatullah and of its part in creating the preferred future that his CLA methodology offers.

    Dr Robert Burke, Program Director, Mt Eliza Business School

    CLA has given our policy developers and program planners an invigorating and robust framework for a breadth and depth of analysis previously inaccessible. CLA is an extraordinarily inclusive and versatile tool – enabling a wide range of sometimes preciously held views to be placed ‘on the table’, made explicit and navigable. The CLA tool is empowering our staff, giving them a ‘way through’ in dealing with complexity especially relevant in a large local government with a broad policy agenda.

    Jennifer Bartlett, Strategic Planning and Policy, Australian Local Government

    CLA is an important and exceedingly useful theory and foundational method for including the views of other cultures in thinking about the future.
    Dr. Kuo-Hua Chen, Director and Associate Professor, Graduate Institute of Futures Studies, Tamkang University

    CLA is a simple, elegant method that challenges people to step away from our tendency to default to the box, to confront our blinders, to bring into play innovative thinking and to engage in fundamental debates about the future.

    Kate Delaney, Futurist, Delaney& Associates Pty Ltd, APS Futures Forum Steering Committee, NZ Local Government Futures

    Low birth weight babies, obesity in children, depression among teens, violence against women, re-emerging infectious diseases, health inequalities… this is an edited list of today’s complex public health challenges. What will tomorrow’s look like? CLA offers researchers and practitioners in public health an innovative tool for delving into the connectedness of these problems, and to stimulate insights into how to bring about change at the deepest levels.

    Sally Fawkes, School of Public Health, La Trobe University

    Deftly conceived and written aqualung allowing trips to the deep and back in comfort.

    Brendan Cartmel, CEO, Technical Manual Solutions

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