What is it about?

I believe there is some latent interest and utility within the Futures Studies in respect to Gregory Bateson's depth and genealogy but his 20th century language and cybernetic approach can be problematic for many who are not familiar with those highly emergent times. In this paper I have attempted to translate between Bateson's ecology-orientated worldview and the current popular and useful Causal Layered Analysis (CLA) approach developed by Sohail Inayatullah: a Rosetta Stone effort of sorts using the plight of the Asian elephant species as a surface medium. This paper is aimed at helping the Asian elephant survive the Anthropocene by working on epistemological 'gaps' within our collective and respective ecologies of mind. I'm hopeful others will see value in further bridging between CLA and Bateson's approach. Perhaps this synthesis example may serve as a useful initial bridge for greater two-way traffic?

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Why is it important?

The Asian elephant is on the endangered species list and likely heading for extinction unless the means can be found to mitigate population growth and development trends causing human-elephant conflict and fragmented natural habitats.


This paper sets out a 'Double Description'​ of sorts (applying Bateson's terminology). I suggest CLA is another useful step towards establishing Bateson's "ecology of mind" -- and that applied together they can raise the requisite variety necessary to improve policy and elephant management.

Russell Clemens
University of the Sunshine Coast

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This page is a summary of: Asian Elephant Futures: A Causal Layered Analysis with Gregory Bateson in Mind, World Futures Review, November 2019, SAGE Publications, DOI: 10.1177/1946756719885661.
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