Nowadays, people live in a world that is more global than ever. With the barriers between nations being much less prevalent than in the past, individuals from all kinds of backgrounds have to find ways of reaching compromise. With a more diverse community, then, comes the need for social change. Be it to better accommodate various groups of people, or strive towards improvement in specific parts of society, the world moves towards change. In discussing and considering the factors contributing to this process, one could mention a variety of considerations, some of which stem from professional fields while others come from people’s day-to-day lives. The institution of education, and the academia in particular, play an important role in promoting change in the world. Research papers, discussions, lectures, science experiments all contribute to the expansion of the public body of knowledge. The existence and creation of educational works concerning all aspects of life is what helps individual people become better members of society and enact their own change in history.
How Academia Contributes to Change in Society
The promotion of education and knowledge in society is an important part of building stronger communities, solving emergent issues and finding fitting solutions for existing ones. Individuals informed by real-world evidence and research write theories and explanations about how the society around us works, help create newer, more nuanced perspectives, and put their knowledge on paper. The information, summarized, reviewed and discussed, passes through the public lens, where its merits are evaluated, and finds its place in the discourse. New and upcoming researchers then take the information created and reach their own conclusions, slowly moving the discussion forward.
This is the way in which academia functions, and in which it develops. The process of education, and by extension, the methods it employs has an ability to enact positive social change (O’Malley). Research done into proper pathways of remedying economic and social inequality, combatting poverty, crime, and discrimination helps both individuals and communities as a whole work towards positive change. Educational institutions have a responsibility and an ability to promote learning and better practice from people, which is in large part done through the discussion and publishing of research (Anderson et al. 50). As noted by a particular example of Dorothy Smith’s works, the diverse background of people contributing to discussions creates a unique climate, one that is beneficial to problem-solving, discovery and exploration (Campbell 20). Speaking more aptly, it can be said that the engagement with research becomes much more productive to individuals and society at large when people from varied walks of life are involved.
A TED talk on the subject of global problems highlights the importance of education well, and discusses how the scientific principles of research can be used to find newer solutions.
To summarize, it can be said that the promotion of education and inquiry is extremely beneficial to the creation of a more open, diverse, and inclusive world. By ensuring that many people can contribute to the field of research, creating their own works and discussing existing theories, society can ensure that better practices are adopted for the benefit of the many.
Anderson, Mark Majewski, et al. “Social Innovation as a Chance and a Challenge for Higher Education Institutions.” Atlas of Social Innovation, 2020.
Campbell, M. “Dorothy Smith and knowing the world we live in.” Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare, vol. 30, no. 1, 2003. pp. 3-22.
O’Malley, Brendan. “How Higher Education Can Be a Force for Social Change.” University World News, 2016.