Dec. 28, 2021

Alex Chesterfield & Ali Goldsworthy on Depolarisation

Alex Chesterfield & Ali Goldsworthy on Depolarisation

Why do we live in such a polarised world and what can we do to minimise the dynamic?

On this episode, I’m joined by Alex Chesterfield and Ali Goldsworthy, two of the co-authors of a book called Poles Apart - Why People Turn Against Each Other and...


Why do we live in such a polarised world and what can we do to minimise the dynamic?

On this episode, I’m joined by Alex Chesterfield and Ali Goldsworthy, two of the co-authors of a book called Poles Apart - Why People Turn Against Each Other and How To Bring Them Together. They’re also two of the co-hosts of the Changed My Mind podcast that talks to people who have changed their minds on big issues.

Alex Chesterfield is a behavioural scientist with a master's degree in Cognitive and Decision Science. Forever curious about why we do what we do, she currently works in financial services, leading a team of behavioural scientists to help get better outcomes for employees and customers. For four years, she was an elected Councillor in Guildford for the Conservative Party. She has personally experienced the effects of affective polarisation, both in and out of the workplace. She has been on the show before & you can hear that episode here: https://www.humanriskpodcast.com/alex-chesterfield-on-behavioural-regulation/

Ali Goldsworthy has been a political adviser and campaigner for more than twenty years. A former Deputy Chair of the Liberal Democrats, she led the team that built the fastest-growing campaigning organisation in the UK. In 2017 she was a Sloan Fellow at Stanford, co-creating its first depolarisation course. A board member of the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust, Alison has won numerous awards for her work. She has written for the Telegraph, Independent, New Statesman, The Times and Financial Times.

In the episode, we talk about the genesis of the podcast and the book and what Alex and Ali have learned from writing it. We also explore some of the key dynamics that drive polarisation, including social media, and the techniques we can all deploy to minimise it in our lives and in society.

Poles Apart book - https://www.penguin.co.uk/books/111/1119814/poles-apart/9781847942951.html

For more on the Changed My Mind Podcast visit — https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/author/the-depolarization-project/

The specific episodes we referred to:

Derek Black on why he left the White Nationalist movement — https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/leaving-white-nationalist-movement-with-derek-black/

Ayman Diem on why he switched from being an Al Qaeda bombmaker to an MI6 spy — https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/podcasts/podcast-changed-my-mind/changed-my-mind-al-qaeda-bombmaker-mi6-spy/

Cass Sunstein on why he changed his mind about the stability of US democracy — https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/podcasts/podcast-changed-my-mind/changed-my-mind-american-democracy-cass-sunstein/

We also discussed:

LBC Radio presenter James O’Brien — https://www.lbc.co.uk/radio/presenters/james-obrien/
Twitter — https://twitter.com/mrjamesob?

James’ Full Disclosure podcast — https://www.globalplayer.com/podcasts/42KqCF/

‘Gamergate’ on Reddit —