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Projects and activities | 2 February 2022

Values & Identities - a policymaker's guide

The JRC has published a report that supports policymakers in understanding and interpreting value orientations and social identities that are relevant for policymaking.

New report published

Countries all around the world are facing tremendous challenges such as climate change, a loss of biodiversity, or the fallout from COVID-19.

Democracies are well suited to resolve such challenges by taking into account various values, interests, and perspectives. However, recent years have also seen high levels of polarisation, the rapid spread of dis- and misinformation, a decrease in willingness to compromise, and sometimes outright attacks on democracy.

Politics itself is increasingly turning on a new axis. On top of traditional economic conflicts, cultural values and identity issues have become just as or even more important for politics today.

EU institutions are well organized to address economic issues, e.g. through economic impact assessments. However, as the cultural values cleavage emerges, the EU needs to acquire new tools to understand the new fault line. 

The JRC flagship report “Values and Identities – a policymaker’s guide” addresses these issues.

Abstract

This report presents the state-of-the-art scientific knowledge on values and identities from an interdisciplinary perspective.

Values are said to be the dominating forces in life and identities represent who we are and to whom we belong.

Both shape the political landscape in democracies and have gained in importance in recent decades. The report contains important insights for policymakers to adapt their work to the challenges of our time, including a dedicated toolbox section.

The scientific review and toolbox are complemented by findings from a dedicated Eurobarometer on values and identities commissioned for this purpose.

Watch launch event recording

How to apply this to policymaking?

How to take values and identities into account when developing and communicating policies

How should policymakers navigate the new societal and political landscape? This report, intended for policy and decision-makers, is the first of its kind to bring together interdisciplinary insights from the social and behavioural sciences on values and identities in the political process.

Co-created with academia and policymakers, it has benefited from input from scientific experts and policy practitioners, as well as representatives from international and civil society organisations. The state-of-the-art scientific review is complemented by findings from a dedicated Eurobarometer on values and identities commissioned for this purpose.

Proposed tools

The report proposes a set of tools to include values and identities consciously and meaningfully in policymaking, of which some are already available and others will be released over the course of the next year.

Tool Type 1 – Heightened Understanding

  • Discover one’s own values priorities and values blind spots using a survey
  • Use a Fast-track Values Assessment to identify whether a policy is highly value-laden
  • Use a Fast-track Identities Assessment to identify whether a policy is highly identity-laden
  • Include questions on values in citizen polling (e.g. Eurobarometer) to uncover underlying psychological drivers of opinions and attitudes


Tool Type 2 – Co-Creation

  • Use Citizen Engagement and Deliberative Democracy processes to understand values diversity, issue frames diversity and to break down identity barriers
  • Use a Values4Policy workshop to learn about and discover how policy problems and proposed solutions can be perceived through different values lenses
  • Use Strategic Foresight incorporating a values explainer and values detector to uncover diverse values-driven scenarios


Tool Type 3 – Communication

  • Communicate using values frames for effective communication, while keeping in mind potential ethical implications
  • Use a values text-mining and media monitoring tool to learn about one’s own values regarding communication habits and about the way citizens express their values around policy topics

If you are interested in applying these in your work, contact us

A systematic way to think through a policy problem using values and identities 

Infographic of the circle of personal values
(© European Commission)

Downloads

Values and Identities - a policymaker’s guide
English
(file)
Download
V&I - Poster
English
(9.12 MB - pdf)
Download

Further information 

 

 

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