Enhancing Emancipatory Systems Methodologies for Sustainable Development

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Our interest lies in applying the principles of critical systems thinking to human activity systems in developing countries in situations where issues of natural resource sustainability constrain the feasible set of long-term strategies. The concept of sustainable development provides an expanded domain for critical systems thinking. The fundamental values underpinning sustainable development are that both intragenerational and intergenerational equity are important. As a consequence, key stakeholders are often excluded from power-sharing within current social systems. Addressing these issues requires renewed focus on emancipatory commitment and methodologies. To date, Ulrich's critical systems heuristics is the only critical systems methodology that offers practicable tools for emancipation. A case study analysis in Tigray, northern Ethiopia, provides insights in relation to the application of critical system heuristics to issues of sustainable development and highlights the need to extend the use of critical systems heuristics beyond the design and monitoring of structured interventions.

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