About Voices on Values

A joint project of the Open Society European Policy Institute (OSEPI) and Open Society European Policy Institute

 

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A variety of societal changes challenge our views of open society principles. They include the dissatisfaction with conventional politics expressed by populist parties; increased concerns over security and immigration; nationalism and undemocratic policy changes promoted by the media and endorsed by the public at large. Civil society groups and policy-makers are mobilising to defend an open society, yet many disagree about what it actually means.

Aim of the Voices on Values project

To help civil society organisations along with national and EU-level political actors, as well as the wider public, respond to these profound political disruptions, the Voices on Values project seeks to understand what drives the changing discourse about open societies and the mechanisms that can be used to strengthen them. It puts the spotlight on six countries: Germany and France in North-western Europe, Hungary and Poland in Eastern Europe, and Italy and Greece in the Mediterranean.

In each of these countries, researchers have been exploring the relationship between four areas: policy; communication and representation; the response of civil society; and public attitudes. The project focuses on the complex and dynamic relationship between these areas, such as how policy changes affect political communication, how this in turn affects public opinion, and how civil society can respond to changing law and attitudes.

Methodology

This research is based on interviews with decision-makers and civil society leaders and public surveys conducted across all six countries. In these we asked people across Europe about the importance of values associated with open societies, such as freedom of expression, press freedom and the freedom of religion, and through an experimental survey design tested to what extent people's evaluations are robust. 

Getting heard

Working with a network of think-tankers and researchers in six countries, the Voices on Values project produces regular analysis, including opinion pieces and shorter data-based articles on themes like young people and civil rights that are the basis of in-depth reports from each country. Additionally, in February 2019 six individual country reports, as well as three reports on the project's more general findings will be published. 

  

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