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Season 8 of Monash’s “What Happens Next?” podcast closes with a timely look at civility in a digital age

Monash University 2 mins read

In the final two-part series of Season 8, Monash University’s podcast, What Happens Next? examines the topic of civility in a digital world, where depersonalisation runs rampant and opinions and arguments have a global reach.

With the rise of social media, conversations and disagreements are amplified, making it more crucial than ever to remember that behind every screen is a fellow human being with emotions and vulnerabilities.

This insightful two-part conversation, hosted by academic and commentator Dr Susan Carland, features a range of expert guests – including world-leading academics in sociology, education, psychology and political science – as well as high-profile journalists and thought leaders in a discussion about the importance of maintaining civil discourse in society.

Dr Waleed Aly and Scott Stephens, co-hosts of ABC Radio National’s The Minefield, emphasise the essential nature of face-to-face interaction for understanding the moral reality of another person and identify how contempt can undermine vital social institutions, including democracy. Dr Aly, an adjunct lecturer at Monash, also outlines the ways we can remove contempt and engage in good faith with people whose views we oppose, an important skill in today’s geopolitical climate.

“It takes a long time to build cooperation, to open up channels of dialogue, and it just takes a moment to lose it," emphasises Dr Steven Zech, a senior lecturer in Monash’s Department of Politics and International Relations.

Professor Lucas Walsh, Director of the University’s Centre for Youth Policy and Education Practice, highlights the need to educate young people about common challenges that demand collective solutions – especially as we face the global existential threat of climate change.

Associate Professor Helen Forbes-Mewett, a sociologist in Monash’s School of Social Sciences, recognises the significance of civility as a cornerstone of social cohesion, particularly in multicultural societies such as Australia.

Susan also talks to road rage expert Dr Amanda Stephens, a senior research fellow at the Monash University Accident Research Centre, who stresses the importance of being aware of our mindset before engaging with others, on and off the road.

Please feel free to repost, embed, or refer to the podcast where it can support your stories:

What Happens Next? explores some of the biggest challenges of the day. Academic and commentator Dr Susan Carland steps through the sliding doors with global experts and thought leaders to find out what could happen if we don’t change, and what the world could look like if we do. 

It is a two-time winner of gold awards, and the winner of both a bronze award and a listener’s choice award, in the global Signal Awards, alongside other high-profile podcast creators including Michelle Obama, Oprah, Netflix and media powerhouses such as the New York Times, Bloomberg and the ABC.

What Happens Next? is available on all major podcast platforms. Explore the podcast’s back catalog.

- ENDS -


Dr Susan Carland, Lecturer of Language, Literature, Cultures & Linguistics, Monash University

Professor Lucas Walsh, Director, Monash University Centre for Youth Policy and Education Practice

Associate Professor Helen Forbes-Mewett, Sociology & Anthropology, Monash University

Dr Steven Zech, Senior Lecturer, Politics & International Relations

Dr Amanda Stephens, Senior Research Fellow, Monash University Accident Research Centre


Monash Media
T: +61 (0) 3 9903 4840

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