Die Rückkehr der Stämme

Global Outlook 2018: The Return of Tribes

Technology, Nationalism and the Social Divide

Technology, Nationalism and the Social Divide

Photo: Bob Wick, BLM California

Nation states are divided, the EU is under fire and ideological fringe groups are gaining in influence across the world. Instead of dialogue, opposing parties’ wars of belief now dominate politics. What matters is belonging, rather than facts. We are experiencing the return of premodern tribal thinking.

At the heart of this tribal attitude lie struggle and survival in a hostile environment. Forty years ago, the visionary media theorist Marshall McLuhan said, ‘The tribal world is not friendly. One of tribal people’s main kinds of sport is butchering each other.’

The new tribes of like-minded individuals offer a sense of belonging. Identity arises through exclusion: us against them. The goal is interruption and destruction – without future perspectives and without history. Today is what counts. And the social media that should be bringing us together is in fact intensifying the formation of tribes.

The peaceful world has passed its peak.

  • What are the new major tribes and who are their chiefs?
  • Uprooted global elites versus local populations: who’s winning?
  • Are we returning to an archaic premodern state?
  • Is moderate nationalism the only alternative to tribal Darwinism?
  • Will the things that divide us soon become more significant than the things that unite us?

David Bosshart (CH), CEO, GDI Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute
Tribal Behaviour: Why Now and What it Means for the Economy, Society and Politics

David Goodhart (UK), journalist, author and Head of the Demography, Immigration and Integration Unit, Policy Exchange
Somewheres and Anywheres: New Tribes and the Social Divide

  • Populist success is based on differing values and economic divisions.
  • The population’s more rooted and conservative 50 % of «Somewheres» like social openness less than the educated and mobile 20 to 25 % «Anywheres»
  • Yet Anywheres have come to dominate the agenda in most developed countries
  • Now the Somewheres have used their political voice to challenge that Anywhere domination

Olivier Alexandre (FR), sociologist and research fellow, The National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS)
Decoding the Silicon Valley Mindset: Will Nerds Be Tomorrow's Elite?

  • Silicon Valley is primarily an economy of game and investments
  • Its inhabitants: mostly high-wave, leisure-seeking young men
  • The truth of this new entrepreneurial society is ambiguous at best
  • The winners: only a handful

Panel discussion with David Goodhart and Olivier Alexandre
Tomorrow's Tribes: Common Traits, Common Threats

Peter Sloterdijk (DE), philosopher, cultural scientist and writer
Prehuman and Late Culture - Revisited

  • On the reproduction of the old in the new
  • Approaching the phenomenon of tribalism from the perspective of philosophical anthropology

Conversation with Peter Sloterdijk and David Bosshart
Tribes and Cultures: Who Has Power Tomorrow?

Apéro Riche

David Goodhart

David Goodhart

Journalist, author and head of the demography unit at the Policy Exchange think tank. Founder and former editor of "Prospect magazine" and former director of the centre-left think tank “Demos“. His book “The British Dream” was runner up for the Orwell book prize. His new book “The Road to Somewhere” explains the Brexit vote and the rise of populism.

Peter Sloterdijk

Peter Sloterdijk

Influential German philosopher, cultural scientist and writer. His book "Critique of Cynical Reason" is one of the best-selling philosophical writings of the 20th century. From 2001 to 2015, Sloterdijk was rector of the Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design, where he taught philosophy and aesthetics.

Olivier Alexandre

Olivier Alexandre

Sociologist and research associate at the National Center for Scientific Research in Paris and former guest researcher at Northwestern University and Stanford University. Alexandre's research focuses on media and culture. His forthcoming book discusses the Silicon Valley tribes.

Florian Inhauser

Florian Inhauser


Journalist and moderator. Florian Inhauser presents the main newscast at Swiss Broadcasting Corporation, SRF and he is also the anchor of the foreign news magazine «#SRFglobal». With a master in history and anglistics he speaks English fluently. He has also an excellent reputation as an international correspondent, covering conflicts and crises around the globe.


22 January 2018

CHF 190

Participants registering less than two weeks before the event can pay by credit card only.

Event location
GDI Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute
Langhaldenstrasse 21
8803 Rüschlikon

Presentations in German and English. German presentations will be simultaneously translated into English.

Changes of the programme
The programme is subject to change. If an event does not take place, fees will be refunded. Further claims are ruled out.

If you are unable to attend, please let us have your cancellation in writing. The fee will be reimbursed on cancellation until 18 December 2017. After this term and until five full working days prior to the event we will charge 75% of the fee. In the event of later cancellations we will charge the full participation fee. Substitute participants welcome. Please name these under: tribes(at)gdi.ch




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