The History of Future Studies: A Note on Gilfillan’s Early Work

Ballandonne, Matthieu. 2020. “The History of Futures Study: A Note on Gilfillan’s Early Work.” Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Volume 157, 119983. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.techfore.2020.119983

Posted: 22 Mar 2019 Last revised: 20 Jul 2020

See all articles by Matthieu Ballandonne

Matthieu Ballandonne

Ecole Superieure Des Sciences Commerciales D'Angers (ESSCA)

Date Written: February 28, 2019

Abstract

Seabury Colum Gilfillan (1889–1987), an American sociologist who received his MA and PhD from Columbia University, is considered as a seminal author in futures studies. The aim of this note is to contribute to the history of futures studies through a study of Gilfillan’s early work on prediction and prophecy. We focus on Gilfillan’s contributions in the 1910s and on his 1920 master’s thesis in which he studied four eighteenth-century French authors. We identify Gilfillan’s main methodological principles and, using some of his later contributions, show their relevance for some of the methodological debates in the field.

Keywords: Gilfillan; History of Future Studies; Mellontology; Prediction; Prophecy

JEL Classification: B31; B41

Suggested Citation

Ballandonne, Matthieu, The History of Future Studies: A Note on Gilfillan’s Early Work (February 28, 2019). Ballandonne, Matthieu. 2020. “The History of Futures Study: A Note on Gilfillan’s Early Work.” Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Volume 157, 119983. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.techfore.2020.119983, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3344254

Matthieu Ballandonne (Contact Author)

Ecole Superieure Des Sciences Commerciales D'Angers (ESSCA) ( email )

1 rue Joseph Lakanal
BP 40348
Angers Cedex, 49003
France

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