GP&IR Track Meeting, 2018-2019: Digital Influence: When trust in society declines or triumphs.

Kurt Lewin Instituut
Heidelberglaan 1
Room Number H1.42
The Netherlands
T: +31 (0)30 - 253 3027

GP&IR Track Meeting, 2018-2019: Digital Influence: When trust in society declines or triumphs.

Teaching staff
James Liu (Massey University), Felice van Nunspeet (UU), Namkje Koudenburg (RUG).

Type of course
Theory-oriented Workshops

April 16 and April 17, 2019

Utrecht University

2 days


1.0 ECTS

In this workshop, Prof. James Liu, professor of psychology at Massey University in New Zealand, will introduce us to his collaborative work on digital influence focusing on how media consumption influences attitudes, values, political ideology and behaviour, and vice versa.

The aims of the workshop are four-fold: participants will
(a) be introduced to topic of digital influence in different cultural contexts;
(b) learn more about recent research and methods for assessing social capital and trust;
(c) actively think and discuss ways to recover the trust in liberal institutions in Western societies, and
(d) develop new research ideas related to the topic.

Day 1, Theoretical Issues: Prof. Liu will present an overview of his current work on digital influence, with a specific focus on trust, as a more measureable counterpart to social capital. As a specific case, prof. Liu will discuss Indonesia, which appears to have abnormally high trust in society. Prof. Liu will inject some thoughts about how to revive an action-oriented approach to fostering and nurturing trust in societies with different historical trajectories. Participants are requested to read key papers, and to prepare questions for the discussion. In the afternoon, students whose work is related to these topics can present and discuss their work.

Day 2, Methodological issues: On the second day, prof. Liu will extend the theoretical lecture with a practice lecture about methods: the issue is that trust seems to be declining in Western societies, as the institutional transparency and open society dialogical model appears to be losing ground. In the context of Europe, for instance, liberal institutions appear to be under a lot of pressure. Students will be invited to discuss what steps the academy might take to stem or reverse this trend. Thereafter, the workshop will split into groups to stimulate further discussion and work on a group assignment to develop a new research idea. Every group will briefly present their results.

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