Democracy in a Polarised Society

University of Birmigham
Wednesday 6th November 2019 (18:00-20:00)
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A well-functioning democracy needs an informed society and this requires citizens to acquire and evaluate information and make informed electoral choices. However, if society is polarised are we able to make such informed choices?

Hosted by Professor Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay

A series of talks, led by Professor Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay will illustrate how we live in an information-rich world but paradoxically may be information poor as a result. Rather than reading news from a ‘mainstream media’, people have the choice to get their news updates from social media and alternate media of almost every conceivable slant. This can lead people to get caught in a bubble where they continuously listen to ‘news’ that confirms their beliefs.

This event will explore the implications this has for the types of political parties and leaders that come into power, and the policies that they implement. Insights from political economy and behavioural economics will be used to show why people fail to accurately gauge news, even when they are aware of possible biases and inaccuracies. The talks will conclude with suggestions of ways in which even ideologically opposed groups can find common ground and strengthen democratic institutions.