Many political observers point to America’s long, dark history of racism and bigotry to explain the rise of US president Donald Trump. However, social psychology’s theory of “othering” offers an alternative way of understanding Trump’s appeal – one that focuses on humans’ innate need to differentiate themselves from others. In this fascinating article for Foreign Affairs, political scientist Jeff Colgan stresses the need for leaders to accept these tendencies and find ways to channel them more constructively. He makes his point with examples from British colonialism and US politics during the Cold War.
In this article, you will learn
- How the theory of “othering” explains the rise of US president Donald Trump and
- Why political leaders must not dismiss humans’ innate tendencies toward othering.
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