The Big Q

Questions - Ideas - Scholarship - Debates

Project for Public Interest Media

The meme politics of white supremacy: how does fascist radicalisation happen on the internet?

The devastating anti-Muslim attacks carried out in Christchurch in March this year were part of a trend of disaffected white men, radicalised into fascist politics through social media meme culture according to Emmi Bevensee.

Q+A: How is trauma passed on through generations?

Is the transmission of trauma multi-generational? Do children of survivors of mass atrocities have a higher risk of developing psychological disorders? To understand the process of multi-generational legacies of trauma, Maria Armoudian speaks with Andrei Novac and Yael Danieli about the impact of survivors’ post-trauma adaptational style in their children’s eyes. 

Are we equipped to protect our ecosystems in an age of global species extinction?

The recently released Global Assessment from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services is a wake-up call to all of us when it comes to species extinction according to Wendy Nelson.

Politics & Society

Q+A: What is going wrong inside New Zealand’s prisons?

A recent report investigating the state of three New Zealand prisons found that low staffing numbers were straining conditions. Lachlan Balfour spoke with Liam Martin, Lecturer in Criminology at Victoria University, about the report and the state of prisons in New Zealand.

Q+A: What does Jair Bolsonaro’s victory mean for Brazil and the rest of the world?

He is known in many circles as the ‘Trump of the Tropics’ and his election has shaken Brazilian politics and has the potential to shift Brazilian domestic politics and regional politics for years to come. Doug Becker speaks with Erica Resende and Guilherme Casaroes about Jair Bolsonaro’s election and what this means for Brazil and the rest of the world.

Q+A: Is it time to stop using cars?

A recent report from a team of researchers based at the University of Otago has found that our use of cars is harming both our health and our environment. Is it time to give up our cars?

Q+A: What is the resistance? Political movements in Trump’s America

Even before Donald Trump was elected president of the United States in 2016, protest groups were forming and mobilising against him. Together, they now form what is termed ‘The Resistance’. But what is The Resistance, and can it succeed in keeping American democracy alive?

Science & Technology

Q+A: How is trauma passed on through generations?

Is the transmission of trauma multi-generational? Do children of survivors of mass atrocities have a higher risk of developing psychological disorders? To understand the process of multi-generational legacies of trauma, Maria Armoudian speaks with Andrei Novac and Yael Danieli about the impact of survivors’ post-trauma adaptational style in their children’s eyes. 

Q+A: Could ditching cars make us healthier?

A recent report from a team of researchers based at the University of Otago has found that our use of cars is harming both our health and our environment. The report, titled Turning the Tide, claims that urgent steps are needed to encourage New Zealanders to walk, cycle, or use public transport. Oscar Perress spoke with Melody Smith about changing the way we think about cars, and how we can lead healthier lives.

Business & Economics

Q+A: Is New Zealand ready to go carbon zero?

In New Zealand, recent policy plans by the government show the first steps towards zero-carbon emissions. Oil and gas exploration has been banned although with controversial stipulations, while a zero-carbon bill is currently going through parliament which proposes putting a price on carbon. Is New Zealand ready to go zero carbon?

What are the implications of the US-China trade war? 🔊

In 2018, the United States and China have been embroiled in a trade war with each country continuing to raise tariffs placed on goods traded between the two nations. But what exactly are Donald Trump’s tariff policies and what will be their effects?

Could a recession be just around the corner?

The U.S. economy is growing at the fastest pace in five years and unemployment is at the lowest level in almost half a century. So why are Wall Street and some economists suddenly worried about a recession?

Arts & Culture

Q+A: How are political ideologies labelled?

The political spectrum is often a model that puts political ideologies on a scale of left to right – hence why we hear the term ‘left-wing’ and ‘right-wing’. The terms date back to 1789 and the French Revolution, when radicals sat on the left side of the National Assembly, the aristocracy on the right. But how are political ideologies labelled and how are political spectrums formed?

Q+A: Why is the United States so polarised?

What are the fault lines that have fractured politics in America? Julian Zelizer has analysed the historical roots of the present-day political turmoil, divisions, and partisanship in the US for his new book Fault Lines: A History of the United States Since 1974. 

What is the ‘Alt-Right’?

After the horrendous attacks in Christchurch, many people understandably have questions about the motives and ideology of the alleged attacker. Damon Berry analyses the role the alt-right might have played in the attacks.

Q+A: How influential is the presidency of the United States?

How much does the U.S. presidency matter for the direction of the United States, and for the rest of the world? Maria Armoudian speaks with William F. Grover and Joseph G. Peschek about the power of the U.S. presidency and what they term the “unsustainable presidency.”