Me, Me, Me! Narcissism and the new politics of identity

October 29, 2018

A recording of the debate at the Battle of Ideas 2018 on Sunday 14 October at the Barbican, London.

Today, everything seems to be an expression of contemporary ‘narcissism’, from dismissing millennials as Generation Me to describing Donald Trump as the ‘narcissist in chief’. It seems your boss or co-workers, everyone on Tinder, celebrities, even your parents are all ‘narcissists’. But has it become a lazy cliché? Or is it an accurate diagnosis of today’s identity-driven politics, which puts the self and self-esteem centre stage? Why do we reach so quickly for therapeutic categories to understand politics? Why has the idea of narcissism become so pervasive?

SPEAKERS

DR GRAEME ARCHER
writer; professional statistician; winner, 2011 Orwell Prize for blogging

DR BETH GUILDING
academic, Goldsmiths, University of London; co-editor, Narrating the Passions: new perspectives from modern and contemporary literature

CAROLINE MACFARLAND
director, Common Vision (CoVi)

JACOB REYNOLDS
partnerships manager, Academy of Ideas; co-convenor, Living Freedom; organiser, Debating Matters

CHAIR: DR TIFFANY JENKINS
writer and broadcaster; author, Keeping Their Marbles: how treasures of the past ended up in museums and why they should stay there

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