The Power of Distinctions

  • Ioanna Tsivacou


Power is one of the crucial issues in Critical Systems Thinking. It is connected with the position of that approach for “...human well-being and emancipation” (Flood and Jackson, 1991: 49). As is well known, there are differences in the way that critical systems thinkers view the subject of emancipation (Flood and Ulrich, 1990; Jackson, 1985, 1990). However, as their main concern is a redefinition of Management and Systems Sciences, as well as the provision of theoretical and practical principles for the functioning of a critical systems methodology based on dialogue and on critical self-reflective action, they sought mainly theoretical support in the Habermasian analysis for distorted communication. Therefore, in their writings, the notion of power is not the outcome of an original work, but rather a notion borrowed primarily from the theoretical project of Habermas, and secondarily from that of Foucault. An exception could be considered Oliga’s endeavor to deal with the concept of power as he attempted to inquire into the phenomena of stability and change of social systems (Oliga, 1990(a), 1990(b)).


Operational Domain Critical System System Practice Objective Interest Critical System Thinking 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ioanna Tsivacou
    • 1
  1. 1.University of the AegeanAthensGreece

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