The partisan divide in the United States has widened to a chasm. Legislators vote along party lines and rarely cross the aisle. Political polarization is personal, too. Surveys show that Americans have become more fearful and hateful of supporters of the opposing political party, and imagine that their views are more extreme than they actually are. How can we move forward, and start working on our most pressing problems?
The Way Out: How to Overcome Toxic Polarization by Peter T. Coleman, a professor of social psychology and education, explores how conflict resolution and complexity science provide guidance for dealing with seemingly intractable political differences. Coleman meticulously details principles and practices for navigating and healing the difficult divides in our homes, workplaces, and communities, blending compelling personal accounts from his years of working on entrenched conflicts with lessons from leading-edge research.
Columbia News caught up with Coleman to discuss the new book, the best book he ever received as a gift (and why), and how he will spend his summer.