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What follows is a copy of Desa Markovic’s provocative paper which was originally published in 1993 in Human Systems: The Journal of Systemic Consultation and Management, Vol. 4, pp 235-258. It is reproduced here by kind permission of the editor Peter Stratton of our first cousin journal.
At the end of this paper are three reflections. One is by Gianfranco Cecchin, another is by Desa Markovic both of which were published with the original paper in 1993. These are now followed by a contemporary reflection by Desa Markovic written in 2019 on the context of her writing this paper. She addresses her initial encounters with systemic social construction during a revolutionary period in systemic thinking when Desa was first a student and then a tutor at the Kensington Consultation Centre (KCC) in London.
When you have read this paper and its reflections, please explore other historic papers published by Human Systems journal which are now freely available to download.
This paper proposes a Model of Stages to describe the processes of learning and understanding the systemic approach. Six hypothetical stages are constructed as different positions to be taken in relation to 'knowing systemic rules'.
Stages are suggested as a heuristic device, as one possible way of telling the story of what happens on the journey of becoming systemic. (Do not believe that it is more or less true than any other true story!)
The relationships between stages are not based on a paradigm of linear development. The Stages Model is proposed as ever evolving through the circular, spiralling patterns and processes which last beyond any training course.
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