Our 21st Century world is suffering from a new strain of an old threat; political polarization.
Traditional against modern. Nationalist against globalist. Our increasing tendency to identify with an in-group based on shared opinions, values and world-views comes with a critical corollary, a spiralling dislike for an out-group.
Identity, values and attitudes are consolidating to form distinct tribes - often under political labels of convenience - who increasingly perceive and describe the world around them in terms of Us versus Them. We are struggling to spend time with those who feel differently to us and there is no obvious reward for those who go against the grain. This means tensions rise, and trust between people and in institutions suffers.
The fragmentation of society is palpable. We urgently need to understand why and change course.
Poles Apart builds on our acclaimed podcast, Changed My Mind, to make sense of our confusing world. Puncturing people’s perception bubbles, it will equip them with solutions to help renew debate and so democracy. Drawing together original research and lessons from leaders in business, politics and behavioural science, Poles Apart is divided into three parts. The first examines what polarization is, where it comes from and why we are moving into new, unprecedented territory. The second looks at the advantages and disadvantages, why it is so hard to change minds and why that's a problem for seeking a shared understanding. The third offers a road map for people who want to stitch back together our polarized present to make sense of our future.
The book will challenge readers to open up to opposing views and reflect on why they hold onto their own. While we may all be part of the problem, only together can we forge a solution to this knotty, complex threat.
Poles Apart will be released in 2021 with Penguin Random House.