Critical systems thinking

Critical systems thinking (CST) is regarded as a systems approach to research and intervention in complex situations. The approach developed from the concerns held initially by C. Wes Churchman and his student Werner Ulrich. Later, Mike Jackson and Bob Flood, who were then professors at the University of Hull in the UK (e.g. Jackson, 1991, 2000; Flood and Jackson, 1991) developed their interpretations of the earlier work. Jackson and Flood were concerned that existing systems methods, includi
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5.1 Introduction

In this section, I shall explore the features of the contextualising (systems-methods) ball – the C ball. I will make a distinction between systemic and systematic thinking and action and I will argue that the aware systems practitioner has more choices than the practitioner who is not aware.

An aware practitioner is able to contextualise a diverse array of methods at their disposal creating an opportunity for a greater range of advantageous changes in the ‘real world’ situation.
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8.1 Loose ends

Before moving into a discussion of the missing element of the rich picture, I want to direct your attention to all the thoughts and ideas I have encouraged you not to put into your rich picture. I imagine you might have collected quite a list of loose ends. The next activity will involve some of these.

Expect to take about half an hour to do the next activity.


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7.2.2 Trap 2: the impoverished rich picture

A distinguishing feature of rich pictures that turn out to be useful seems to be they are just what they say they are, rich. If I take usefulness as the criterion, the useful rich pictures are the ones bursting with interest and activity. They don't seem to tell a single story, there are lots of stories going on simultaneously. They reveal stories you didn't consciously build into them.

How is such a rich picture to be achieved?

Use everything you find in the situation. This means
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7.2.1 Trap 1: representing the problem and not the situation

This trap is one of the most fundamental mistakes you can make in systems thinking. There are lots of metaphorical phrases in English that can entice you into the trap. We can talk about ‘the nub of the problem’, ‘the key issue’, ‘the basic problem’, ‘the real difficulty’ and so on.

Like all traps, once it has sprung, it can be very difficult to get out. The trap seriously limits one's ability to think about the situation in its full complexity. This is precisely because
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References

Bignell, V. and Fortune, J. (1984) Understanding Systems Failures, Manchester, Manchester University Press.
Buzan, A. (1974) Use Your Head, London, BBC Publications.
Checkland, P. (1981) Systems Thinking, Systems Practice, London, Wiley.
Fisher, W. and Hudson, J. (1997) Using diagrams – a diagram , unpubli
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4.4 Diagrams for further analysis and quantitative model building

To gain further understanding of the connectivity in a situation, a multiple cause diagram can be converted into a sign graph by indicating whether the cause has a positive effect or a negative effect by adding the respective signs. Not all multiple cause diagrams lend themselves to this treatment as you need much greater knowledge of the situation to be able to be sure about the causal chains in a situation and the effects they are likely to have. Sign graphs are particularly useful
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Health and wellbeing in the ancient world
This free course, Health and wellbeing in the ancient world, investigates the health of people in ancient Greece and Rome, using both literary and archaeological evidence to uncover details of real life in ancient societies. First published on Thu, 08 Aug 2019 as Author(s): Creator not set

7.4 Religion: true or false?

I noted earlier that differences between the truth claims made by religions has led those who practise Religious Studies to avoid premature judgements when dealing with questions relating to the truth and value of particular religions. By seeming to by-pass truth claims, you may feel that what I have been describing as Religious Studies avoids what many would regard as the purpose of religion – to deal in truths. This is a difficult area to cover briefly, but let me at least try to explain
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2.5 Modern sources

As set out in Figure 1, modern sources, too, fall into various subcategories. We'll look at some of them in more detail a little later. For now let's just say that most of the sources you will use in this course are broadly scholarly: publications written by people with an expertise in the Classical world. We will come
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2.4 Ancient sources

As you have seen, exploring the Classical world is an interdisciplinary pursuit. Perhaps the most immediately obvious aspect of this interdisciplinary approach is that you will confront different kinds of ancient sources, often simultaneously, since one of them by itself may not be sufficient for answering a particular question you may have. Quite apart from whether a source is ancient or modern, the different disciplines that make up Classical Studies use different kinds of source material.
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2.2 An initial exploration

To begin your own exploration of the Classical world, you will first read the introduction to the book of essays, Experiencing the Classical World. It has been written not only to introduce the essays in the book, but also to introduce you to some of the fundamentals of Classical Studies.

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Keep on learning

Study another free course

There are more than 800 courses on OpenLearn for you to
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2.3 Using your observations

The observations you make in your notebook might not always appear imaginative or pertinent to anything, but the mundane recording of events may have unlikely uses. Writing in my notebook on 15 December 1998, I observed the sky – at the coast on a murky winter's day, when the low cloud seemed to be lit by a churning, subterranean force:

the earth comes to the surface, the soil muddies the sky, clouds the air –
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Acknowledgements

This course was written by Dr Nigel Warburton

Except for third party materials and otherwise stated (see terms and conditions), this content is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 Licence

Grateful acknowledgement is made to the
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3.6 Berlin criticised: one concept of freedom?

I've already mentioned that the most important feature of Berlin's article for our purposes is his distinction between negative and positive concepts of freedom: freedom from constraint, and the freedom that results from self-mastery or self-realisation. Most discussion of Berlin's article has also focused on this distinction. Now I want to consider a criticism of the distinction between two types of freedom.

The whole article rests on the assumption that we can make a meaningful distin
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References

Goodman, M. (1997) The Roman World, 44 BC–AD 180, London and New York, Routledge, Routledge History of the Ancient World.
Nicolet, C. (1991) Geography, Space and Politics in the Early Roman Empire, Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Press.
Grant, M. (trans.) (1996) Tacitus: the Annals of Imperial Rome, Harmondsworth, Penguin Books. (First published 1956.
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2.4 ‘Culture, identity and power’

Having unpacked some of the issues to do with the term ‘Roman Empire’ we turn now to ‘culture, identity and power’, wide-ranging terms involving many different aspects which are often closely interlocked.

The following essay, ‘Looking for culture, identity and power’, is designed to help you consider various factors and experiences that helped to shape culture, identity and power as social forces in the empire. It introduces some key topics and terminology. Please read it no
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2.3 Acquiring territory

As you saw from the map (Plate 1), Rome had been gaining control over territories in the Mediterranean from the third century BC: following its expansion in Italy came conquest of Sicily, Spain and north Africa (after the second Punic war), parts of Asia Minor, Macedonia and Greece. Then, in the first century BC under Pompey, territories in the east were annexed, and in the west under Julius Caesar, Gaul was pacified and an abortive invasion of Britain made. The administration and control of
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2.2 Imperium as power: Augustus and the beginning of the empire

The basic meaning of the Latin term imperium was ‘command’ and the term included the authority that lay behind the mandate. During the long period in which Rome was a republic, imperium signified the power attached to the office of the leading elected magistrates of the city, notably the two annual consuls and the lower-ranking praetors. It was the consuls who commanded the armies and went to the provinces assigned them by the senate. Praetors too came to share a military fu
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