Systems perspectives on news stories

Bryan Hopkins Consulting
Learning and development services for international organisations
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Systems perspectives on news stories

Bryan Hopkins Consulting
Published by Bryan in Systems thinking · 5 October 2020
One of the reasons why I find systems thinking such a useful tool in my life toolbox is how it can help shine some light on the complex situations that life presents. Last night I sat down and watched "Honour", a dramatisation of the police enquiry into the murder of a young Kurdish woman in London in 2006 (available on the ITV Player, and thoroughly recommended). This was a so-called 'honour killing', where a father and uncle in a Kurdish family murdered a daughter who had fallen in love with someone of her own volition, an act which in itself brought shame on the family.

So looking at the three principles of systems thinking, it involved interrelationships, the relationships between the people in the family, the young woman and her boyfriend, within the Kurdish community who clammed up and said nothing to the police, but where the murder was boasted of in order to enhance 'honour'.

It involved multiple perspectives. Within the community the murder made perfect sense: to protect the status and security of the family it is important to control who can become part of the family. However, from the perspective of values within British society the crime is abhorrent. An expository scene between the police inspector and a Kurdish translator who had brought his family to Britain to get away from this belief system brought out this contrast between perspectives. In another scene a police officer who had attended the young woman in a hospital casualty ward where she was being treated for cuts after family abuse wanted to charge her with criminal damage for breaking a window: her frame of reference seemed to exclude the possibility of the woman being a victim.

And thirdly there are boundary judgements. Who has power (men) and who has no power (women). Who is in the family and who cannot be in the family? What is the purpose of this system? And so on.

A riveting two hours of viewing, much recommended.

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