Paradigms - the Big Changes and Shifts in Society
-- a university of arizona course on methods and approaches for studying the future

Paradigms can be thought of as the framework that has unwritten rules but directs actions. There are several definitions below and some links to varying perspectives or applications of paradigms. When one paradigm looses influence and another takes over, there is a paradigm shift. Knowing in advance how a paradigm shift might occur gives you an advantage over others. Also look at Driving Forces. My views on paradigms and driving forces are also available.
Definition of paradigm and paradigm shift from American Heritage Dictionary (Yahoo version)
Paradigm: A set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality for the community that shares them, especially in an intellectual discipline.
USAGE NOTE: Paradigm first appeared in English in the 15th century, meaning “an example or pattern,” and it still bears this meaning today: Their company is a paradigm of the small high-tech firms that have recently sprung up in this area. For nearly 400 years paradigm has also been applied to the patterns of inflections that are used to sort the verbs, nouns, and other parts of speech of a language into groups that are more easily studied. Since the 1960s, paradigm has been used in science to refer to a theoretical framework, as when Nobel Laureate David Baltimore cited the work of two colleagues that “really established a new paradigm for our understanding of the causation of cancer.” Thereafter, researchers in many different fields, including sociology and literary criticism, often saw themselves as working in or trying to break out of paradigms. Applications of the term in other contexts show that it can sometimes be used more loosely to mean “the prevailing view of things.” The Usage Panel splits down the middle on these nonscientific uses of paradigm. Fifty-two percent disapprove of the sentence The paradigm governing international competition and competitiveness has shifted dramatically in the last three decades.
Definition of paradigm and paradigm shift from The Paradigm Web
Paradigm: The word "paradigm" was originally one of those obscure academic terms that has undergone many changes of meaning over the centuries. The classical Greeks used it to refer to an original archetype or ideal. Later it came to refer to a grammatical term. In the early 1960s Thomas Kuhn (1922-1996) wrote a ground breaking book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, in which he showed that science does not progress in an orderly fashion from lesser to greater truth, but rather remains fixated on a particular dogma or explanation - a paradigm - which is only overthrown with great difficulty and a new paradigm established. Thus the Copernican system (the sun at the center of the universe) overthrew the Ptolemaic (the earth at the center) one, and Newtonian physics was replaced by Relativity and Quantum Physics. Science thus consists of periods of conservatism ("Normal" Science) punctuated by periods of "Revolutionary" Science.
Paradigm Shift : When anomalies or inconsistencies arise within a given paradigm and present problems that we are unable to solve within a given paradigm, our view of reality must change, as must the way we perceive, think, and value the world. We must take on new assumptions and expectations that will transform our theories, traditions, rules, and standards of practice. We must create a new paradigm in which we are able to solve the insolvable problems of the old paradigm.
Paradigm examples
Guardian Unlimited (UK) - 23 essays on was September 11, 2001 (world trade center) a paradigm shift
Speeches about paradigms by Joel Barker (brief outlines)
Comment on Thomas Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions (paradigm shifts) by Tim Healy at Santa Clara University.
Timelines of critical theories in US (examples in field of English)
Paradigms for on-line learning
Paradigms and theories in psychology
Paradigm web
Programs for program planning (college/extension course)
New paradigms for computing and for thinking
Murthy's paradigms (several fields)
Instructors Examples
Instructor's paradigm shift graphic example (read first entry to review how 'paradigm shifts' occur)
Instructor's list of paradigm shifts underway
Barker's (Selected) Examples (Joel Barker - Paradigms). Selected paradigms of 90s (written in 1992)
• Education K-competence
• Magical, mystical polymers
• Nature wisdom
• Negawtts
Schwartz et al. Ten Guiding Principles from "The Long Boom" (written in 1999)
• Go Global -- the major event for changing our world - Things are no longer organized on the sub-global level.
• Open Up -- in almost any situation be open rather than closed - government policies, business strategies, technological innovations, or individual philosophies of life.
• Let Go -- the future is going to be even more beyond any individual's or any organization's control. No one is in control, and that's OK.
• Grow More -- Economic growth is good
• Always Adapt -- Units within a growing system must constantly adapt to survive.
• Keep Learning -- The mechanism for adapting in today's works is, pure and simple, learning.
• Value Innovation -- Learning finds expression as constant experimentation and reliance on innovation.
• Get Connected -- connect computers and network people.
• Be Inclusive -- Draw people into the network (of people).
• Stay Confident -- Be optimistic about the future.

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Prepared by Roger L. Caldwell