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General Systems Theory - Beginning With Wholes
by:Barbara G. Hanson
Though general systems theory is currently the prevailing paradigm in family therapy and social work, there is no accessible text which treats its basic concepts. This book fills the gap by presenting the central ideas of general systems theory in clear and simple language, with a focus on the social sciences. The most important traditional ideas of...
Though general systems theory is currently the prevailing paradigm in family therapy and social work, there is no accessible text which treats its basic concepts. This book fills the gap by presenting the central ideas of general systems theory in clear and simple language, with a focus on the social sciences. The most important traditional ideas of systems theory are considered along with new ideas running into the 21st Century.;It begins with Aristotle's notion that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. These emergent wholes become the focus of attention in order to study things which are joint productions, like the arms race and intimate relations. Thinking in systems terms means seeing that change in one part changes all parts, like the thaw of the Cold War leading ultimately to the Gulf War. It allows a fresh analytic stance without the necessity of blame that made things worse, such as the retributive policy toward Germany after World War 1, or DDT. New language like feedback gives a way to view social phenomena in terms of systems processes, which may magnify or distort the ultimate effects of actions on a system.; Human systems suggest adding several characteristic
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