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
Date Written: February 28, 2019
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: Suggested Citation