Civility Lost and Found

Published: June 2009 Publication Type: Publication

Authors: Alessandra Buonfino, Geoff Mulgan

Has Britain become an uncivil society? Civility Lost and Found argues that incivility has become common, whether in the behaviour of tv and radio presenters, revellers out on a Saturday night or drunks on airplanes, and that few issues matter as much to the public.

Civility Lost and Found looks at the nature of civility in British society and, through a mix of research and contributions from a number of eminent people addresses what we mean by civility and looks at what can be done now to cultivate a more civil society. Published by the Young Foundation with the support of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) it points to a wide range of actions that could help to make Britain a more civil society, all of which build on projects already underway: powerful institutions taking more responsibility for the impact of their actions, and those of their leaders; the Internet offering civility checks for emails; firms and public services offering apologies when things go wrong, rather than oscillating between defensiveness and financial compensation; teenagers playing roles as civil guardians on the streets; schools teaching mindfulness; police forces providing on the spot prizes as well as spot fines for young people.

The book includes commentaries from leading politicians and thinkers. Liam Byrne MP calls for more character education in schools and volunteering to instil habits of civility. Francis Maude MP points out that his children are ruder to him than he was to his parents – but also closer. Political correctness he points out is often about civility. Baroness Neuberger writes ” … often an apology and a gesture of civility matters more than compensation”. Other essays look at the role of religion and volunteering in promoting civility.

Download a full pdf version