31 Oct
2011

The Values We Live By: a new reader-friendly version of George Lakoff’s morality systems

In his book Moral Politics, Berkeley cognitive linguist George Lakoff sets out the two opposing value systems that he believes are predominant in Western society: Strict Father and Nurturant Parent. As part of my mission to make Lakoff more accessible I have drafted an “easy language” version of what he calls the Moral Metaphors and the Categories of Moral Action. I am also substituting “Nurturing” for Nurturant Parent and “Authoritarian” for Strict Father, as we’ve been doing elsewhere on this blog. I believe the new versions below are powerful everyday expressions of the moralities the world lives by.

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16 Jun
2011

More values analysis of Britain’s Alternative Vote referendum: Lakoff’s categories of moral action

In my last post I identified the metaphors at work in George Lakoff’s two opposing morality systems of “Strict Father” (Conservative Authoritarian) morality and “Nurturant Parent” (Progressive Nurturing) morality, and applied them to Britain’s failed referendum on the Alternative Vote. This post goes further, exemplifying the way Lakoff applies those metaphors to create “categories for moral action”. This post will be of interest to anyone wishing to learn more about Lakoff or for a persuasive explanation of why the Alternative Vote failed.

In chapter nine of the book Moral Politics: how liberals and conservatives think, Lakoff lists the two sets of categories for moral (and hence political) action.

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16 Jun
2011

A Constructive Critique of the Common Cause Handbook

The Common Cause Handbook is a timely, accessible and important contribution to its field. We’re not quite sure what that field is: it could be called “values theory”, “values campaigning” and it is part of a larger field that is – at least in the States – called “cognitive policy”.

But in short, it’s a new and extremely exciting way to understand the communication of politics, campaigning and public engagement. The handbook’s sub-title is “A Guide to Values and Frames for Campaigners, Community Organisers, Civil Servants, Fundraisers, Educators, Social Entrepreneurs, Activists, Funders, Politicians, and everyone in between”. If you’re any of those people, you should definitely read it.

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30 Aug
2010

A Sunday morning church service in the Bahamas – some striking conclusions about God’s moral authority

After two days enjoying some sun-worshipping on the pink beaches of Eleuthera, I made a point of getting up early this Sunday back in Nassau to experience some worshipping of a different kind. I’m not a practising Christian even though I come from a Christian background, so I was curious to find out what a Bahamian church service would be like, especially since Christianity seems to have such a prominent place in the culture and mindsets of these islands. It’s hard to know whether Christ Community Church in Nassau is a typical church since there are two thousand churches here (in a country of only a few hundred thousand people). But my experience of this non-denominational church cheered and dismayed me at the same time.

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