Research shows that research isn’t good at changing people’s minds.

To paraphrase George Lakoff, if the facts do not fit your values, the values stay and the facts bounce off. (Okay, so Lakoff was writing about what he calls “deep frames”, rather than values, but the relationship between values and deep frames seems close). When confronted with inconvenient information, it’s much easier – it requires […]

Healing division through exploration of shared values

Originally published 15/02/22 on the Othering & Belonging Institute It seems that we live in a time of polarisation. The most salient areas of public debate are characterised by deep division on, for example, immigration, restrictions implemented to reduce transmission of covid, vaccination, membership of the European Union. In this context, the assertion wheeled out […]

Living our multi-issue lives

That the challenges which we collectively confront are deeply interlinked becomes ever more apparent. Empirical evidence for these interconnections continues to accumulate. We know that speciesism (the objectification of non-human animals) predicts more racist attitudes; we know that when people self-objectify their bodies, their intention to engage in pro-environmental behaviours is diminished; we know that […]

Football: A Narrow Escape

blog football background

That the owners of these clubs should be forced into retreating from their plans is testimony to the persistence, in football, of other values than those of the market. It’s striking that those other values still persist in football, because in many respects the sport has become a vehicle for promulgating neoliberal values more widely. […]

Reimagining social and environmental concern

Love for our fellow humans and other living beings isn’t a finite resource that depletes with use, and for which different groups must compete. It grows stronger as its focus is broadened.
Social and environmental concern isn’t a zero-sum game. Strength lies in building on shared values to establish solidarity across diverse causes. Building linkages between causes multiplies our commitment to address these challenges. In this way we become more than the sum of our parts.
This year, we’re launching a new conversation to help build deeper connections between groups and networks that are engaged on issues which may currently seem unrelated. This blog outlines some initial ideas, and hopes to encourage you to want to join this conversation to improve on these ideas, and to help to take them to the next stage (there’s a bit more on how to do that at the end).

Values and Brexit – minding the perception gap

What values best predicted a vote to remain in the EU in the 2016 Referendum? Were these values the ones that the Remain campaign drew attention to? And what of the preponderance of talk about the economy in communications from both sides (but especially the Remain campaign)?

The UK election: a triumph of values over perception?

Much of our work over the last couple of years has focused on the likely consequences of the ‘perception gap’. Most people (85% of citizens in Greater Manchester, for example) place more importance on ‘compassionate’ values of community, social justice and equality than they do on values of wealth, success or social status. But it’s also the case that most people (75% across Greater Manchester) underestimate the importance that others place on these values. Our work finds that this ‘perception gap’ is greatest among people who self-identify as ‘liberals’.

Values at City Hall

With a month to go before mayoral elections in England, there is one overarching question that voters can ask of their mayoral candidates: will they organise their work around the values that citizens in these cities and city-regions hold to be most important, and will they do so explicitly – testifying publicly to the shared importance of these values?

We Need to Talk About Englishness

English people in the social and environmental movements often don’t like talking about English identity. It seems to be a source of embarrassment. When I speak to friends about Englishness, I find that many like to shift the conversation subtly onto the safer ground of Britishness. But there’s an irony here. This easy elision from Englishness to Britishness could only ever be sustained by those living in England. Where it’s unconscious, it’s an elision that arises through a sense of being numerically, economically and culturally dominant. Yet it is those who feel most uncomfortable about Englishness, and who appeal most readily to Britishness, who are also the first to consciously reject any possible basis for dominance.