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4 May 2022 - 4 May 2022

1:00PM - 2:00PM

Online seminar using Zoom

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Part of the School of Education Research Seminar Series.

Achieving the ‘ideas informed’ society: a Structural Equation Model for England

Professor Chris Brown from the School of Education,Durham University and Professor Jana Gross Ophoff from PH Vorarlberg, Austria

This will be a virtual seminar using Zoom. Contact for details about how to take part.

Democratic societies thrive when citizens actively and critically engage with new ideas, developments and claims to truth. Not only does such practice result in more effective choice-making, it can also lead to widespread support for progressive beliefs, such social justice. Yet with western societies in the midst of environmental, social and political crises, it seems more pertinent than ever that citizens become ‘ideas-informed’. With this in mind, this session aims to provide insight into the following: 1) the current ‘state of the nation’ in terms of whether and how individuals keep themselves up to date with regards to new ideas, developments and claims to truth; 2) the impact of staying up to date on beliefs such as social justice; 3) the factors influencing people’s propensity to stay up to date, their support for value-related statements, as well as the strength of these influencing factors; and 4) clues as to how the extant ‘state of the nation’ might be improved. Drawing on a survey of 1,000 voting age citizens in England, our findings indicate that many people do keep up to date, do so in a variety of ways, and also engage with ideas as mature critical consumers. There is also strong importance attached by most respondents to the values you would hope to see in a progressive and scientifically literate society. Yet, as we illustrate with our Structural Equation Model, there are a number of problematic network and educational related factors which affect: 1) whether and how people stay up to date; and 2) the importance people ascribe to certain social values, irrespective of whether they stay up to date or not. We concludes with suggestions for the types of social intervention that might foster ‘ideas-informed’ democracies as well as future research in this area.