The futures of futures studies
Pushing the boundaries of futures thinking

What is the future of spiritual tourism? An Ontological and Epistemology Perspective

Tourism futures is a relatively new and evolving area of research. Tourism itself is multi-disciplinary in nature and not founded on a single theoretical position. Therefore the question arises, how can one frame the future of tourism? Through the philosophies of Roy Bhaskar and critical realism to John Dewey and pragmatism, Dr. Ian Yeoman reflects upon his empirical research from an ontological perspective, conceptualising a framework based upon truth and explanatory claims. Four forms of futures states are created; prediction has strong signals and signposts that are conscious; prognosis has political and expert power using black box economic models as truth prediction technology; science fiction has weak signals and signposts with an explanatory mechanism of ‘what if?’ and the utopia-dystopia state has no place, therefore it is necessary to action in order to mitigate risk or create achievement. Yeoman argues that pragmatism and social explanatory mechanisms are used through scenario planning and other futures methodologies. Thus, Yeoman demonstrates through examples of ontological hierarchy the relationships of theory and practice as a theory of reality and belief.