For our annual satellite event for the Battle of Ideas*, we welcome back author and academic Nikos Sotirakopoulos to discuss his new book, Identity Politics & Tribalism: The New Culture Wars.
The public sphere has turned more toxic in recent years with the escalation of identity politics clashes on both left and right. With the threat of the Covid-19 pandemic and the onset of recession, many thought that the culture wars would take a back seat, or even be exposed as trivial. Instead, with the protests following the death of George Floyd, the storming of the Capitol Building, and the increasing gender wars, they seem to have been turbo-charged. But how do we explain this development?
For Nikos Sotirakopoulos, the common denominator in today’s popular ideas across the political spectrum is the rise of a ‘tribalist mindset’, defined by a particular way of viewing the world in which people are seen not as individuals, but as members of groups that have antagonistic relations to each other. Such a view, he claims, is not just flawed but dangerous – robbing people of agency and setting up a potentially “everlasting struggle of all against all, in a zero-sum game.”
Nikos will explain the rise of contemporary tribalism and put forward an antidote.