Critical Systems Heuristics
Emancipatory systems thinking
Critical Systems Heuristics belongs to the Emancipatory systems approaches, as defined by its creator, Werner Ulrich, and also in the mind of others, such as Mike Jackson, as revealed in his System of Systems Methodologies (SOSM).
By emancipatory, it is meant that the methodology allows its users to challenge prevailing views and emancipate, liberate themselves from oppression of these views.
Yet, Ulrich himself advocates CSH to be used in other contexts as well, indeed, with any other approach where a critique of boundaries may be useful. So, CSH isn't dedicated to social context.
CSH is mainly about critique and analysis of boundaries of system. This allows, according to Ulrich:
- To identify boundary judgments systematically;
- To analyse alternative reference systems for defining a problem or assessing a solution proposal; and
- To challenge in a compelling way any claims to knowledge, rationality or ‘improvement’ that rely on hidden boundary judgments or take them for granted.
For this purpose, CSH provides a framework of boundary categories supporting 12 critical boundary questions (see link to introduction by Ulrich below).
CSH Perspective from Geoff McDonnell
Comments to Geoff McDonnell
- Werner Ulrich's Home Page with lots of downloadable document about CSH and its applications.
- Ulrich's own introduction to CSH
- System of Systems Methodologies (SOSM) by Michael C. Jackson
- Introduction to CSH Powerpoint by Geoff Elliot, Roger James and Victor Newman
Systems Thinking World Discussions
Systems Thinking World Q&A * Gene Bellinger