Norris, Pippa. 2006. “Political engagement.” Extract from Democratic Phoenix and ‘Tabloidization, video malaise and cynicism’ from A Virtuous Circle reprinted in Reader in Political Communications. Routledge/Taylor and Francis.
Norris, Pippa. 2006. “Recruitment.” Handbook on Political Parties, 89-108. London: Sage.
Increasing efficiency of education is a major goal in Mexico, as in much of Latin America. Education provides much of the human and social capital needed for effective participation in society and at work. Fernando Reimers argues that serious improvements in the quality of education must focus on questions of purpose as well as of efficiency in the delivery of education. Too often the concern with efficiency overrides fundamental questions about the purposes of schools. Often policy reforms to address efficiency make unwarranted asumptions about contextual conditions that can turn the intended purposes of those policies on their heads; for instance, the current popularity of policies to expand the decision making authority of principals assumes that they have incentives and are capable of improving instruction in schools. Reimers shows how in Mexico there are serious problems that undermine the effectiveness of school principals: part of the explanation for the lack of efficiency in education lies with social attitudes that favor men and make it difficult for women to advance in their professions. This in turn creates deep problems for the purpose of teaching students an egalitarian and tolerant set of values, essential to effective citizenship in a democratic society. In this chapter Reimers demonstrates how to productively combine a focus on the purposes of schools with a focus on the efficiency of education delivery.
In this chapter, I examine a topic inadequately addressed in current discusssions about education in developing countries: teaching quality. I argue that teaching quality is important if schools are to help students develop capabilities of consequence to improve their life chances, especially if students cannot develop those capabilities in other institutions. I further argue that we need to think about teaching quality as a complex process, on that incorporates both normative and positive elements and that integrates what teachers do with how students make meaning and understand what their teachers do. The focus of this paper is on the relationship between teaching quality and the literacy skills of marginalized children. In supporting these arguments with empirical analysis of a nationally representative sample of sixth graders in Mexico, I address two research questions: How do variations in the literacy skills of various groups of sixth graders relate to the different circumstances they experience at home? How do their literacy skills relate to the teaching they experience in schools? I conclude that teaching quality, as reported by students, is as related to learning outcomes as parental educationand other home advantages. This finding is important: While the intergenerational transmission of educational advantages within families is widely accepted as a sociological and psychological fact, the importance of instructional quality and the conceptualization of teaching quality are not as widely established or accepted.
This paper seeks to explain the continuing strength of religious values and the vitality of spiritual life in the United States compared with many other rich nations. Part I documents these patterns using a wealth of survey evidence and Part II then considers three alternative explanations of these differences. Religious market theory postulates that intense competition between rival denominations generates a ferment of activity explaining the vitality of churchgoing. Functionalist explanations focus on the shrinking social role of religious institutions, following the growth of the welfare state and the public sector. We compare evidence supporting these accounts with the theory of secure secularization, based on societal modernization, human development, and economic inequality, that lies at the heart of this study. This study draws on a massive base of new evidence generated by the four waves of the World Values Survey executed from 1981 to 2001. This includes representative national surveys in almost eighty societies, covering all of the world?s major faiths. We also examine other evidence concerning religiosity from multiple sources, including Gallup International polls, the International Social Survey Program, and Eurobarometer surveys. The conclusions consider the broader implications of the findings for the role of faith in politics, for patterns of secularization worldwide, and for growing cultural divisions between Europe and the United States.
Since the early 1970s, my colleagues and I have been actively engaged in track–two efforts designed to contribute to the resolution of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. Our work has primarily involved the intensive application to this conflict of the concepts and methods of interactive problem solving (Kelman, 1998b, 2002), which is my particular variant of interactive conflict resolution. Interactive problem solving is an unofficial, third–party approach to the resolution of international and intercommunal conflicts, derived from work of John Burton (1969, 1979, 1984, 1987) and anchored in social–psychological principles (Kelman, 1997a).