Her concern is that popular disengagement is partly the result of political neglect of the good society and the emphasis on economic growth. Good social policy is no priority, just more GDP! Space to talk about our social futures is scarce, so she is promoting a novel way for people to explore ideas. Sharing a meal and discussing what makes a fairer, better society, e.g., at a dinner party, is rather like a focus group. Drawing on her extensive research experience, Eva believes the reported results from a wide spectrum of such discussion groups is a way of restarting political debate on the good society we want to see.
The idea is that diverse people invite 6-8 friends, record their discussion on what they want in a good society, then forward the material to the dinner party network. Results will be collated and distributed to encourage public debate on how we want to live.
Eva hopes the food for thought that comes from sharing a meal will nourish new discussions. The following quote comes from the invitation: “Eva Cox has form in this area: believing that we need a more civil, fairer society that encourages trustworthiness in government. These views were first expressed in her 1995 ABC Boyer lectures. She is looking for hosts and guests to restart conversations and actions needed to promote ideas for fairer social futures.”
The website is up and functioning and more than 80 people have signed on as potential and actual hosts. “We are running an initial September spring initiative with the aim of achieving 100 dinner parties so we can tap the variety of views and common grounds before we move into an election year.”
This is a new way of working on making societies more civil.