From sustainable to systemic development: an inquiry into transformations in discourse and praxis

Ison, R. L.; Bawden, R. J.; Mackenzie, B.; Packham, R. G.; Sriskandarajah, N and Armson, R. (2008). From sustainable to systemic development: an inquiry into transformations in discourse and praxis. In: Sheffield, James ed. Systemic Development: Local Solutions in a Global Environment. ISCE Publishing, USA, pp. 231–252.

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Abstract

This paper, through a systemic inquiry, explores the context of, and makes the case for systemic development rather than sustainable development. Systemic development is a form of praxis and thus a process rather than an end state. The move from sustainable to systemic development contains conceptual and practical transformations involving discourse (based on changes in understanding) and praxis. In our systemic inquiry we start by analyzing some of the contributions from the 2006 ANZSYS conference that elucidate constraints and possibilities for the transformation we seek. As part of this overall transformation, issues of building institutional and relational capital have to be addressed. We present three vignettes based on our own praxis to elucidate what might be done under the rubric of systemic development, and to highlight the sorts of capacities that need to be built.

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