The Onset of Mega Identities

Mega-identities that fuse party affiliation to ideology, race, religion, gender, sexuality, geography, and more didn’t exist 50 or even 30 years ago, but now that they’re here, they change the way we see each other, the way we engage in politics, and the way politics absorbs other — previously non-political —spheres of our culture.

Lilliana Mason, author of Uncivil Agreement: How Politics Became Our Identity, offers one of the best primers on how little it takes to activate a sense of group identity in human beings, and how far-reaching the cognitive and social implications are once that group identity takes hold. Her recounting of the “minimal group paradigm” experiments is not to be missed. This is the kind of research that will change not just how you think about the world, but how you think about yourself.

The Ezra Klein Show