Non-Fiction Books:

Uninformed Why People Seem to Know So Little about Politics and What We Can Do about It



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Uninformed Why People Seem to Know So Little about Politics and What We Can Do about It by Arthur Lupia
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Citizens appear to know very little about politics and government. Hundreds of surveys document millions of citizens answering thousands of political questions incorrectly. Given this state of affairs, it is not surprising that more knowledgeable people often deride the public for its ignorance and encourage them to stay out of politics. As the eminent political scientist Arthur Lupia shows in this capstone work, there are more constructive responses. As he explains, expert critics of public ignorance fundamentally misunderstand the problem, and as a consequence propose unhelpful solutions to a genuinely serious problem. For instance, idea that simply providing people with more facts will make them more competent voters is erroneous. That is because most experts fail to understand how most people learn, and do not know how to determine what types of information are relevant to voters. Lupia has worked for years with scientists and educators in all arenas to figure out how to increase issue competence among voters in areas like climate change. He draws from these efforts and the latest research on educational efficacy to develop a battery of techniques that effectively convey to people information that they actually care. If we accept the idea that citizens sometimes lack the knowledge that they need to make competent political choices, that greater knowledge can improve decision making, and that experts and advocates are often mistaken about how people think and learn, then a prescription for improving political knowledge and civic competence emerges: we need to educate the educators. Lupia's ultimate purpose, therefore, extends beyond politics alone: to help educators of all kinds convey information that is of more value to more people.

Author Biography

Hal R Varian Collegiate Professor of Political Science, the University of Michigan. He serves on advisory boards for several science communication endeavors including the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education at the National Academy of Science, and Climate Central. He is chair of the APSA Task Force on Improving Public Engagement. He has held a range of leadership positions in science including Principal Investigator of the American National Election Studies, Chair of the Political Economic and Social Sciences at the American Association for the Advancement of Science, President of the Midwest Political Science Association, founder and Principal Investigator of TESS (Time-Shared Experiments in the Social Sciences), and Treasurer of the American Political Science Association. He has given over 350 professional presentations in 12 countries and conducted hundreds o f media interviews with outlets around the world.
Release date NZ
December 15th, 2015
Country of Publication
United States
Oxford University Press Inc
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