“Epistemic Closure”

March 29, 2010 § Leave a comment

Julian Sanchez introduces a new concept to my feeble mind. Groovy.

One of the more striking features of the contemporary conservative movement is the extent to which it has been moving toward epistemic closure. Reality is defined by a multimedia array of interconnected and cross promoting conservative blogs, radio programs, magazines, and of course, Fox News. Whatever conflicts with that reality can be dismissed out of hand because it comes from the liberal media, and is therefore ipso facto not to be trusted.

And I am beginning to notice a theme of tribalism, in-group/out-group dynamics, etc., being used to explain a lot of what is going on lately in American politics and society (additional support to follow). Such can go far towards explaining some of the fluctuations in support/opposition to policy based on which party leads the way on it. It also makes for additional humor when listening to Sean Hannity say that the tea partiers are “conservatives, just like us” to try to expand the in-group dynamic and prevent the perception that tea baggers are a tribe unto themselves.

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