Uncivil Agreement: How Politics Became Our Identity

By Lilliana Mason

Summary/Review

Uncivil Agreement addresses the issues regarding the sharp divide we are experiencing in politics and society, and how we’ve managed to get where we are today. Our division in opinions begins with social identity and belonging to a group. When you belong to a group and form an identity for yourself, you engage in in-group bias as well as unintentionally stereotyping those people that don’t belong to the group that you are a part of. Thus, the social identity that you have explains why there is division and conflict between political parties in the United States. These psychological phenomena, social identity and in-group bias are not the only things that determine why we have become so polarized today; polarization is also due to historical and cultural changes that are occurring in conjunction with these phenomena.

As we’ve all noticed, we’re divided socially with the issues we support and the identities we have, as well as the places we live, our religion, race, income, and so on. All these things become factors that sort us into the major party that most aligns with what we believe in, and this alignment serves to cleave a very real divide between people. Mason also emphasizes that just because this is occurring does not mean that parties are bad; in fact, we need them to have a functioning democracy. The issue is being unable to understand someone else’s views, and that you don’t have to agree in order to understand where another person’s beliefs originated. With this book, Mason’s seeks to help the reader understand why this sharp divide has emerged and the factors that perpetuate it.

This is a wonderful research book that focuses on outlining the causes of polarization in American politics and is a great read for anyone who would like to dig down and understand

why we have gotten to this point of extreme partisanship. Mason provides a few suggestions as to what we could do to try to minimize this divide that we are experiencing. Although, as mentioned, this book focuses mostly on causes, not solutions, for the political divide that we see today. Mason sheds a light on the causes of uncivil politics, and that could pave the way to help us move toward a solution to political incivility. This book makes it clear that we are still working towards a solution for incivility, but it provides wonderful clarity and explanation for why we are seeing a rise in incivility and disagreement in politics