Date 2014-12-09
Time 14:00 - 15:30
Tel 29488944
Venue Room B4-LP-06, Lower Podium Floor, Block B4, HKIEd Tai Po Campus


Public Lecture on 

"The Narratives that Fuel Civic Engagement"


Professor Helen Haste,

Emeritus Professor of Psychology, University of Bath, UK

Visiting Professor in Education, Harvard Graduate School of Education, US


             Date:       9 December 2014 (Tuesday)

             Time:      2 pm to 3:30 pm

             Venue:    Room B4-LP-06, Lower Podium Floor, Block B4, HKIEd Tai Po Campus



Stories are the shared memories and aspirations of any human group.  We make meaning through stories.  They give us explanations about cause and effect, and about what is important to attend to in the past.  Stories both shape and reflect our identity, and they fuel our engagement with social issues.  Attitude measurement, the ‘gold standard’ of social research, can at best only capture the superficial level of beliefs and especially of motives.  At a time of social change, as we see in many parts of the world, I argue that we should be seeking explanations of civic and social action in the narratives that are central to people’s identities.


Helen Haste is Visiting Professor in Education at Harvard Graduate School of Education, Emeritus Professor of Psychology at the University of Bath, UK, and Visiting Professor at the University of Exeter, UK. She has been working for forty years on moral and political development and action through empirical and theoretical work on peace movements, gender politics and political engagement of young people. She has written extensively on the intersection of cultural discourses and narratives, the negotiation and social construction of meaning, and how the individual’s thinking is generated in interaction with these.
Her studies also show that civic identity and responsibility include affective and cognitive sensitisation combined with a belief that the individual has the resources to take action. Her current research project, with Robert Selman and Xu Zhao of HGSE, funded by the Harvard China Fund, is exploring how young people in China understand civic and socio-moral issues and the extent to which they feel able and motivated to engage in civic activity.
Some of her recent publications include: “The Future Shapes the Present; Scenarios, Metaphors and Civic Action” (co-authored with Hogan, A.) in Understanding History and the Construction of Identities in a Global World (2013, Information Age Publishing); “Citizenship Education: a Critical Look at a Contested Field” in Handbook of Research on Civic Engagement in Youth (2010, John Wiley) ; Identity, Community and Citizenship, report commissioned by the UK Department of Children, Families and Schools (2009, Beyond Current Horizons, Bristol). Professor Haste is also co-editor of the journal Political Psychology.

Host and Discussant

Professor Kerry Kennedy, Director, Centre for Goverance and Citzenship

All are Welcome

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For enquires               Email:   /  Tel: 2948 8944