Civic Intelligence in Social Science

From civicintelligence

Introduction to the Civic Intelligence in Social Science

Civic intelligence and the social sciences go together like peanut butter and jelly. To be a civically intelligent individual, there are a number of things to remain aware of, ranging in subjects from communications to sociology. Civic intelligence has it's fingers in every social science.

A few suggested questions:

  • What advantages might civic intelligence offer within this perspective?
  • Why is this perspective important?
  • Is the perspective used implicitly (or sporadically or locally or partially)?
  • Can a civic intelligence orientation help inform or otherwise the efficacy or other patterns of this perspective?
  • What doe social science have to offer the progression of civic intelligence?

Case Studies

Case Study 1 Studying Civic Intelligence

Measuring civic intelligence

Aspects of Civic Intelligence

Towards Comparing and Measuring

Variation How does it differ from place to place — and why?

Magnitude How widespread in terms of people and resource moblization?

Resistance What impediments to progress were encountered?

Organization Versus disconnected and dispirited individuals or organized groups

Sophistication We're (simply) against it versus we've developed this (possibly complicated) plan

Effectiveness But hard to show that a war (for example) was prevented...

Responsiveness How fast and how appropriate were their responses? Relative role of civic intelligence in process In relation to other possible explanations

The measuring of civic intelligence, as with all measurement, first needs a unit, then needs a specific thing to measure. Civic intelligence can be seen in a number of different things, the smallest being in the individual actions performed by a single person and the largest being movements over long periods my a united people. And countless categories in between. It seems the first logical step would be to choose a single "thing" to measure, on the whim of the brave soul choosing to measure civic intelligence. To me, it seems the most effective place to start with the individual acts. This is because it would be the smallest piece to begin with.

in Roy Baumeister's book Willpower, he describes the two most important characteristics that determine success as intelligence (which is difficult to really increase), and self control. Self control essentially sums up to focusing on long term goals over the short term. I believe this trait would be vital for civically intelligent social innovation. Though it is difficult to change our habits, the situation never ceases to change.

Civic intelligence in actions could be measured through the nature of the action (habitual or otherwise), as well it in relation to other actions. A good example of this would be the act of picking up litter. This is a small act, unimportant relative to all the major environmental events in our world. Yet, if noone picked up trash then imagine where we would be!

In regards to a unit, that's more of a style thing. I am a big fan of the game Civ, so I'd pick Civs as the unit.

An example may be required:

How much civic intelligence is in the act of picking up litter?


This act's nature. Why is the person picking up the littler? Will the person do it again? Did the person give the act a second thought? These kinds of questions would lead us to understand the nature of the act

This act's value. This would be a much more mathematical approach to the situation. Maybe involving estimation of how much litter there is in the area of the individual and how much each person in that area would need to pick up. It could also take into account the amount of time spent picking up litter.

This act's value (part 2). how does this act compare to other acts in civic intelligence? Life is full of actions, one may be more efficient than another in regards to civic intelligence. This would probably be the most difficult to measure, as situations change so drastically from region to region.

In regards to accuracy as compared to precision, finding the ACTUAL amount of civic intelligence is a lost like going to the tenth digit when weighing something. It's irrelevant, tedious, and probably a third thing too. In chemistry they made a big deal about precision and accuracy. They described accuracy as being close to the real quantity, and precision as the reliability of the measurement to get the same results. In the end (or possibly before it begins?), the purpose of measuring civic intelligence needs to be seriously questioned. If the purpose is as i see it, to solidify this fuzzy area study and give the average person a better understanding about what the world needs, then accuracy is not as important as precision. In video games the choose essentially random initial numbers when giving points. You get 76 experience points for defeating an enemy, this number is based on rules that the game follows. What matters to the gamer is how much closer this number gets them to leveling up. The number is (generally) irrelevant, the consistent progress what matters.

Just to conclude: measuring civic intelligence is an enormous task, I believe it would be most effective to begin with the smallest case in which civic intelligence could be present. This would be the actions of individuals. These actions could be measured through their nature, their value in relation to duty, and their value in relation to other actions. It would be more important to get a rough frame of how this measurement system would function in it's purpose (which needs to be solidified), than to nitpick at the accuracy of such a system. In my opinion, the purpose of measuring civic intelligence is to inform everyone of the empirical value, not the actual value. If we knew how intelligent some acts were in comparison to others, how much would get done if everyone would do the same act, then it would make civically intelligent acts much more appealing.

Case Study 2 Managing Global Environmental Change

From The book "Managing Global Environmental Change": some of the questions I thought were thought provoking were:

  • How well is society prepared to meet the challenges of global environmental management?
  • What approaches have evolved in different countries and problem areas?
  • What are their strengths and weaknesses?
  • In what ways can their effectiveness be enhanced?


For Future Exploration