Mapping the world's opinions

How our Tribes Fail Us, with James Mumford

In Episode Two of the Parlia Podcast, Turi speaks to Dr James Mumford, author of Vexed: Ethics Beyond Political Tribes, to uncover the contradictions in our political convictions.


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S1 E2: How Our Tribes Fail Us

“We are responding in ways, which are…imaginative and potentially dangerous…terrifying…mass information surplus really destabilizes people’s understanding of where they sit in the world. When you’ve got thousands of different competing narratives attacking you at all times it’s extremely destabilizing and, therefore, could very easily prompt a rush to the safety of tribes”

Turi talks with Dr James Mumford to find out how tribalism limits our political agency.

Together, they discuss:

  • How do we choose our political affiliations?

  • What are the inherent contradictions in those choices?

  • Is tribalism inevitable in the age of uncertainty?

  • How does this instinct for community stop us from questioning our own values?

  • What does this mean for our political systems?

James Mumford

Dr James Mumford is an author and journalist. Prior to writing Vexed, Mumford taught at the University of Virginia, where he remains a Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture

Mumford’s latest book Vexed: Ethics Beyond Political Tribes investigates the manifold contradictions around a single question: ‘Why should believing strongly about one topic mean the automatic adoption of so many others?’. A review in The Guardian called it “that kind of book: less interested in hard-and-fast answers than undermining supposedly concrete certainties…”


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The Parlia Podcast asks: what is an opinion? where do they come from? And what does that mean for politics and society?

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This page was last edited on Wednesday, 15 Jul 2020 at 18:47 UTC