North Labrador and the Torngat Co-op : an exploration of Checkland's soft systems methodology through its application to fisheries development

Rennie, Hamish G. (Hamish Gordon) (1989) North Labrador and the Torngat Co-op : an exploration of Checkland's soft systems methodology through its application to fisheries development. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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    Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.
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Abstract

Checkland's "soft systems" methodology was developed for analysing institutional problem situations and the extension of its use to geography has been the focus of some debate in the geographical literature. Some geographers have argued that the methodology is not fundamentally different from the traditional hard systems methodologies or, alternatively, that it cannot be applied to the type of problem situations (i.e. regional, open-ended) which are the main focus of geographers' concern. Others disagree and suggest that these views reflect fundamental misunderstandings of the philosophy which underpins the methodology. This debate has taken place within an overall framework of concern over the perceived failure of the systems approach to make the expected progress within geography over the last twenty years. Some have ascribed this failure to the inadequacies of systems' methodologies. -- This thesis explores the potential of Checkland's methodology for use by geographers. It examines the methodology's philosophical base and applies the methodology to a problem situation within the domain of fisheries geography. The situation selected is the North Labrador fishery and the role played by the native peoples' co-operative in its current development. The research consequently develops two main threads: the philosophic, and the applied. -- The philosophic analysis suggests that the methodology would be more soundly based on Husserlian phenomenology than on the mixture of positivist and existentialist philosophies Checkland espouses. The application of the methodology results in a richer expression of the North Labrador fishery than would have been expected from a more traditional approach. A number of conceptual models are generated for both the North Labrador fishery and the Torngat Co-operative, and the capacity of the methodology to produce results that relate well to current theoretical approaches such as modes of production is demonstrated. The implications of the overall analysis of the models are that the North Labrador fishery should be seen as part of a pluralistic economic system and that the role of Torngat is one of operationalising the drive for greater independence by North Labradorians. -- The overall conclusion is that the methodology has the capacity for use in geographical research, but requires additional development before it can be expected to readily attract geographers. It is suggested, however, that geographers should play a role in such developments, particularly through extending the number of applications the methodology receives in supra-institutional research. -- Key Words: Checkland's methodology; soft-systems methodology; Labrador; fisheries geography; phenomenology; Torngat Co-operative; First Peoples; Native rights; government policy.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/6644
Item ID: 6644
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 513-527.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Geography
Date: 1989
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada--Newfoundland and Labrador--Labrador
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Torngat Fish Producers Co-operative; Fishery processing industries--Newfoundland and Labrador--Labrador; Fisheries--Newfoundland and Labrador--Labrador; Inuit--Fishing--Newfoundland and Labrador--Labrador; Fisheries--Economic aspects--Newfoundland and Labrador--Labrador

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