Bart Brandsma - Polarisation
The World’s First Guide On How To Deal With Us Versus Them Dynamics
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Women versus men, Muslim versus non-Muslim, Black Lives Matter versus white supremacy, climate-deniers versus climate-fanatics, the West versus the Taliban, countryside versus city, vaccinated versus anti-vaxxers, indigenous versus immigrants, my in-laws versus my own family, Catalans versus Spaniards, management versus workers, ‘the’ people versus ‘the’ elite...
It is easy to list examples of polarisation – shapes of us-them thinking – the variations on this theme are infinite. But the basic laws of polarisation never vary, in each and every case, the dynamics of polarisation are the same.
Polarisation is universal.
What are the dynamics of polarisation? How should we understand the workings of black-and-white thinking, and the fixed patterns associated with it? What role do we play in the process and what can we do to intervene? This book helps you to see the three basic laws, to choose one of the roles we can play in polarisation, and provides the four game changers we need to establish depolarisation strategies. This is what professionals are waiting for, how to deal with the phenomenon of polarization and detect how it relates to conflict, polarisation’s ‘little brother’.
The book presents highly accessible insights into the possibilities and limitations of deploying dialogue and covers four crucial elements that we need to counteract polarisation. This book enables the reader to rethink old ideas and immediately benefit from that in practice. Above all, the book is practical. Besides offering insights and a strategic vision, it gives the reader a set of useful tools to handle polarisation.
This is the first basic guide to polarisation for the professional.
Bart Brandsma (1967) studied Philosophy and Journalism and worked as a journalist, documentary producer and management consultant. He considers himself a practical-minded philosopher, learning from and teaching professionals. His clients are police, public prosecutors, CEOs and management boards, journalists, mayors, youth workers, communication experts, activist and NGOs, ministers and government… While working as a consultant and trainer, he started to explore the ever-present dynamics of us versus them-thinking, some twenty years ago. He tested his Polarisation Strategies in conflict areas like Northern Ireland, Lebanon and Congo, and he has worked from Helsinki to Barcelona, from Rotterdam to Rumania.
He wrote Polarisation and founded the company Inside Polarisation. With the book and the company, he aims to provide professionals with insights in the dynamics of polarization, and in their professional position and role within those dynamics. The book and the company have proved extremely successful. This is a testament to the need for an answer for growing polarization, in times of new and exploding media, and the depth and quality of the answers provided by Bart Brandsma.
An internationally active author:
‘Bart Brandsma offers a practical solution for professionals that have to work with or counter polarisation: journalists, politicians, teachers, police, mayors, the list is endless. His philosophical approach is a simple answer to a complex problem, how to navigate in the increasingly apparent us versus them dynamics.’
‘Bart Brandsma’s work is particularly important for journalists. It helps us to understand the mechanisms of polarisation and supports us in our search for the multi-layered reasons for this process. In this way, we are better able to make visible and audible those who hardly have a chance to tell their stories. Especially in times when those who shout the loudest get most of the attention.’
‘An encounter with the work of Bart Brandsma allows for a thoughtful yet inquisitive engagement with difficult issues. Understanding the dynamics of us versus them has changed my professional life. Highly recommended.’
‘Before attending Bart Brandsma’s training, my understanding of polarisation boiled down to a problem that is rather difficult, if not impossible, to overcome. I was convinced that the best way to deal with polarisation is to prevent it. Bart's approach and his Polarisation Framework not only allowed me to better understand the dynamics of polarisation, but also provided me with practical knowledge and tools that can be employed to work on depolarisation. In Poland, where polarising became a part of political agenda and has a direct impact on our work, projects, partnerships, and interpersonal relations, the insight and experience offered by Bart are invaluable.’
This Book Keeps to the Middle
Part I – Polarisation: How It Works
2 Five Roles
Part II – Conflict: Polarisation’s Little Brother
5. Our View Of Human Nature
A New Approach
8. Mediative Speech And Behaviour
10. Urgency, Urgency, Urgency
Brandsma, Bart. Polarización. Una mirada a la dinámica de pensamiento «nosotros versus ellos». Barcelona: Institut Català Internacional per la Pau; Líniazero, 2020.
¿Cuáles son las dinámicas de polarización? ¿Podemos obtener información sobre el funcionamiento y los patrones fijos relacionados con el pensamiento en blanco y negro? ¿Qué roles jugamos? ¿Y qué oportunidades tenemos para intervenir? El libro Polarización. Una mirada de la dinámica del pensamiento «nosotros versus ellos» nos enseña como crear una estrategia de despolarización, mediante por ejemplo con lo que el autor denomina «discurso mediador» y «comportamiento mediador», y como el fenómeno de la polarización se relaciona con el conflicto. El autor constata que polarización y conflicto son fenómenos inseparables.
El libro nos ofrece una amplia visión sobre las posibilidades y limitaciones del uso del diálogo, y cuatro puntos de referencia necesarios para combatir la polarización. Es un texto práctico, que permite al lector cambiar ideas sobre la polarización, y que ofrece a los profesionales respuestas estratégicas y herramientas para gestionarla.
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