Event: The Democratization of Truth – Communication and the Crisis of Contemporary Politics

The Office of the President invites
UW faculty, students, staff and friends to attend
the 36th University Faculty Lecture:

The Democratization of Truth:
Communication and the Crisis of Contemporary Politics
By W. Lance Bennett

Wednesday, November 30, 2011
7 p.m.
Kane Hall, Room 130

The lecture is free and open to the public. A reception will follow in the Walker-Ames Room in Kane Hall.


About this lecture

The turn of the 21st century has been rocked by great changes stemming from the globalization of trade, production and finance. Many post-industrial democracies have witnessed a reorganization of society itself, as people relate differently to basic institutions of religion, political parties, the press, government, education, work life and family. Meanwhile, growing levels of inequality challenge the ideals of democracy.

Some citizens react to these changes with vocal defenses of fraying values, leaving public institutions embattled in culture wars and polarized politics. Other citizens embrace the new global order with its array of communication technologies that enable people to join together to address complex issues from climate change to corporate responsibility in a globalized economy.

However, the rise of social and political networks cannot compensate for the failures of institutions. As information gatekeeping moves away from institutions, social truths multiply. The resulting conflicts become immune to fact, reason or government authority.

The audience will be invited to consider the challenges to democracy these developments present.


About the University Faculty Lecture

Since 1976, members of the UW faculty have chosen a faculty peer who has made a demonstrable impact on his or her profession to deliver the University Faculty Lecture. This is the highest honor the University of Washington faculty can bestow on one of their own. The 36th University Faculty Lecturer, W. Lance Bennett, joins a distinguished roster of Nobel laureates, historians, artists, scientists and authors who have participated in this series. The University Faculty Lecture Award Selection Committee is administered by the Office of the Provost.

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