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How Culture Divides Us

RSA Event


Durham Street Auditorium, RSA House

  • Behaviour change
  • Arts and society
  • Global

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What accounts for the divides between east and west, rural and urban, left and right, secular and religious? What drives support for Brexit, Trump, globalism, nationalism, terrorism, secularism?

Curious about the answers to these and other questions, award-winning social psychologist Michele Gelfand has spent two decades studying ‘tight societies’ (with clearly stated rules and codes of ethics) and ‘loose societies’ (more informal communities with weak or ambiguous norms). Putting each under the microscope, she conducted research in more than fifty countries and collaborated with political scientists, neuroscientists, computer scientists, anthropologists, and archaeologists. Her fascinating conclusion: behaviour seems largely dependent on perceived threats.

With rave reviews from heavyweights such as Steven Pinker, Robert Cialdini, Anne-Marie Slaughter and Carol Dweck, Professor Michele Gelfand’s ‘ground-breaking analysis’ of cultural divides ‘Rule Makers, Rule Breakers’ has been hailed as the manual for how we approach today’s most intractable challenges. She visits the RSA to share these insights, and to explain how they are an essential toolkit for understanding the modern world.

Please accept our apologies but, due to building works taking place at RSA House, step-free access to our auditorium is currently restricted. Please contact us if you have any access queries, and we will do our best to accommodate your needs. And don't forget you can watch the event live online via our Facebook Channel.


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  • How Culture Divides Us

    Durham Street Auditorium, RSA House

    Award-winning social psychologist Michele Gelfand explains how the clash between ‘tight’ and ‘loose’ cultures drives many of our most polarised and intractable global challenges.