Be reassured: the world is not as divided as we might think

(The Guardian, 26 Nov 2021) Beneath the public discord about BLM, the climate and feminism, there is surprising consensus about how the world should be.

Today’s widely accepted narrative is that we live in historically divided times. Voters are routinely described as “polarised”, while analysts compete to identify the essential schism of the age, whether this is metropolitan versus traditionalist, people versus democracy or anywheres versus somewheres.

For a third year running, however, the YouGov-Cambridge Globalism Project supports a different interpretation: that extreme views are given greater visibility by social media, which in turn creates an especially dynamic climate of opinion – in that, for example, it can change quickly – but one whose underlying forces are defined more by cohesion than division. Released annually by the Guardian, the Globalism Project is an international survey and the largest of its kind on the public relationship with globalisation, produced by YouGov in partnership with academics at Cambridge University. Its findings have consistently challenged popular stereotypes of public opinion in this so-called polarised age.

It turns out, for instance, that there is no deep divide between the mindsets of “open versus closed” societies. In fact, few voters support radically open or closed societies, while most tend to favour varying degrees of continued integration with the wider world

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The Guardian, 26 Nov 2021: Be reassured: the world is not as divided as we might think