What are today's social evils?

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) recently released the results of its social evils project as you might have seen in the press. I first heard about the project last Autumn when they launched their web based consultation asking people to identify their top three social evils in today's Britain. I personally didn't like the term 'social evils'. I thought it was of another time and not hugely helpful or constructive. Having said that, it struck a cord with many and over 3,500 people responded. JRF have grouped what participants said under a number of key themes and are now providing people with the opportunity to respond and add comments:

According to JRF, this list of today's social evils "reveals a strong sense of unease about some of the changes shaping British society". Even though, as one recent contributor to the website highlights, the respondents to the consultation were "self-selected, not representative of the public at large", the JRF findings provide rare insight into social attitudes and perceptions which is so important to our understanding of the environment we operate in. So despite my initial, quite sceptical reaction, I would definitely recommend having a look at the full report. It's only 38 pages long. For those in a hurry there's a 4 page summary but it doesn't really give you much in terms of analysis.

For more on changing social attitudes towards some of the themes identified in the report such as attitudes towards young people, ethnicity and poverty and inequality, see our latest Future Focus guide - How are social attitudes changing?

Last updated at 15:08 Mon 18/May/09.
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Third Sector Foresight

JRF are hosting a series of debates to further explore the issues discussed in their report What are today’s social evils?.

The events will look at 5 themes: A decline of values; Distrusting and fearful society; The absence of society; Individualism and Equality. Each of these events will be broadcast live on the JRF social evils website with recordings of the debate available to download afterwards.

The first event took place last week. Podcast and accompanying think-pieces from Anthony Browne, Baroness Julia Neuberger and Professor AC Grayling are already available for download.

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