From apathy to action: Promoting active citizenship and global responsibility in global north populations

Wilson, E 2010, 'From apathy to action: Promoting active citizenship and global responsibility in global north populations', Global Society, vol. 24, no. 2, pp. 273-294.


Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title From apathy to action: Promoting active citizenship and global responsibility in global north populations
Author(s) Wilson, E
Year 2010
Journal name Global Society
Volume number 24
Issue number 2
Start page 273
End page 294
Total pages 22
Publisher Routledge
Abstract Efforts to address social and global problems such as poverty, mass hunger and massatrocity crimes are hindered significantly by apathy and low levels of active civil and political engagement amongst populations in developed countries. Social change nongovernment organisations (NGOs), such as Oxfam Australia, Oxfam Hong Kong and Médecins Sans Frontières, have recently employed innovative, creative, experiencebased strategies in their efforts to promote active citizenship and greater global responsibility amongst populations in the Global North. These techniques are based on two key assumptions: that experiences change attitudes and that changes in behaviour will follow changes in attitudes. Yet the effectiveness of these newer techniques and the accuracy of the assumptions on which they are based remain largely untested. This article explores these assumptions and discusses the innovative, creative techniques that they have generated in NGO public education efforts. The article examines the theoretical literature on the problem of apathy and on the use of creative techniques to overcome apathy. It further discusses the practical application of these techniques through an examination of Oxfam Australia's "Refugee Realities" project. This discussion is based on preliminary evaluation research conducted by Oxfam Australia and the author's own experiences as an actor/volunteer on the project. The article suggests that creative, experience-based public education strategies are effective in challenging and confronting public attitudes towards issues of global injustice. Further research is needed, however, to determine whether these encounters result in long-term changes in attitudes and whether they contribute to moving individuals and communities from apathy to action.
Subject Social Change
Keyword(s) citizenship
crime
nongovernmental organization
poverty
public attitude
social problem
DOI - identifier 10.1080/13600821003626609
Copyright notice © 2010 University of Kent
ISSN 1360-0826
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