Tribalism

I have been reading the new volume of essays, Under Discussion: The Encyclopedic Museum, edited by Donatien Grau and published by the Getty Research Institute. I was particularly struck by a casual comment in an interview with Mari Carmen Ramirez, a curator at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston: ‘In societies increasingly veering toward tribalism (Russia, Spain and the UK, among others), even the notion of a global museum is in serious jeopardy’. The breakdown of nation states is obviously happening – in the UK as in Spain – and has already happened in Russia. But is it right to describe it as tribalism ? Maybe. It’s certainly a move away from a belief in the benefits of globalism and internationalism, the disintegration of common values and a rise in strident partisanship. But is this tribalism ?

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