Conference Papers

Personal Liberty, Mutual Respect and Tolerance: From Values to Virtues

This Templeton funded research investigates the ways that the state and mid-level policy enactors such as public schools shape young citizens’ perceptions of, and compliance with, the civic values or virtues of personal liberty, mutual respect and tolerance (PLMRT), and the impact of this on subjective wellbeing. The project will integrate anthropological, psychological and normative perspectives in three multi-site case-studies, each comprised of three schools working with one of three mid-level policy enactors. These three policy enactors have very different orientations towards the PLMRT values: The ‘UK Military School’ with a securitized perspective, ‘Schools of Sanctuary’ with a globalist perspective, and the Catholic Archdiocese of Liverpool with a faith-based perspective.

The project will commence with a Normative Clarification Event (NCE), after which a series of comprehensive ethnographic observations will be carried out at the nine schools, generating data to inform a Hypothesis Generation Event (HGE). Following this event, a hypothesis oriented ethnography (HOE) will be carried out in the nine schools, with a distinct focus for each site; and ecological momentary assessment (EMA) will gather in-depth ecologically valid measures of young people’s understanding, affinity with and actualisation of the PLMRT virtues in three of the school sites.

The final stage of the project involves developing a survey tool through the same nine sites, with a wider distribution of the survey to test for the generalisability of the other methods’ ecologically rich findings. The tool development phase seeks to engage with normative questions in the phronesis of PLMRT in relation to young people’s contexts of cultural identity, diversity, deprivation, faith-based values and personal worldviews. It is this stage which will be the focus of the presentation this year at BESA.

Blinkhorn, V. and O'Siochru, C. (2019) 'Personal Liberty, Mutual Respect and Tolerance: From Values to Virtues', paper presented to The 15th Annual Conference of the British Education Studies Association (BESA), 27–28 June, viewed 13 August 2020, <>

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