Anthropology/Philosophy Seminar - "Tribal Narratives and Individual Narratives: Finding Common Ground in an Age of Political Polarisation"

Date Thursday 5 August 2021
Time 3:10pm - 4:30pm
Where K.G.06, Hamilton campus
Presenter Joe Ulatowski and David Lumsden
Contact Jeremy Wyatt
Contact email
Admission Cost Free

Joe Ulatowski and David Lumsden will be delivering a joint  Anthropology/Philosophy seminar entitled "Tribal Narratives and Individual Narratives: Finding Common Ground in an Age of Political Polarisation."

Abstract: Many countries' political constituencies are populated by polarised groups with sharply contrasting loyalties and convictions. The USA is a prominent example but other examples include Poland, Brazil, Samoa, and the Philippines. Even New Zealand is not immune from the deep divide in politics. Countries with sharply contrasting loyalties are often described as being ‘tribalistic’ (cf. Lynch 2019; Talisse 2019). We wish to examine the phenomenon of political tribalism by highlighting the notion of a tribal narrative and developing an account of the relationship between tribal narratives and individual self-narratives. We will use that relationship as a lens through which the mind of a tribe member can be given a more nuanced description, showing how an individual outside the tribal narrative should perceive someone who is part of the tribe and explaining how someone captured by a tribal narrative may escape. Our overarching objective is to understand the mechanisms that foster tribal membership and also to understand how even a very powerful tribal narrative is not the totality of a person’s internal narrative, which shows how people can build bridges across tribal divides.

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