Causal layered analysis (CLA) is a new research theory and method. As a theory it seeks to integrate empiricist, interpretive, critical and action learning modes of knowing (loosely, science, social science, philosophy and mythology). As a method, its utility is not in predicting the future but in creating transformative spaces for the creation of alternative futures. It is also likely to be of use in developing more effective — deeper, inclusive, longer term — policy. Causal layered analysis consists of four levels: the litany, social causes, discourse/world-view and myth/metaphor. The first level is the litany – the official unquestioned view of reality. The second level is the social causation level, the systemic perspective. The data of the litany is explained and questioned at this second level. The third level is the worldview/discourse. Deeper unconscious held ideological, worldview and discursive assumptions are unpacked at this level. As well, how different stakeholders construct the litany and system are explored. The fourth level is the myth-metaphor, the unconscious emotive dimensions of the issue. The challenge is to conduct research that moves up and down these layers of analysis and thus is inclusive of different ways of knowing. Doing so allows for the creation of authentic alternative futures and integrated transformation. CLA begins and ends by questioning the future. In the words of James Dator:
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 categorise 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.
Original Location: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causal_Layered_Analysis