Kalypso Nicolaïdis will be joined by Andrea Ruggeri, Fiona Macintosh, Teresa Bejan and Tae-Yeoun Keum to discuss her latest book, Exodus, Reckoning, Sacrifice, which offers a unique take both on Brexit and on the power of mythical stories to frame our democratic conversation.
Nicolaïdis conjures up three archetypes to explore the competing visions that have clashed so dramatically over the meaning of Brexit, whether as the ultimate demonstration of British exceptionalism, a harbinger of terrible truths or sacrifice on the altar of EU unity.
She takes the reader on a journey through the imaginative worlds of the ancients to probe the mix of instinct, feeling and pride that inspires people’s yearning to be free, to bond with others or to reinvent politics.
While she castigates the European project for its failure to accommodate the longings of the continent in all their glorious variety, she contends with the ironic possibility that after and perhaps because of Brexit, the EU will live up to the pluralist ideals that define both the best of Britain and the best of Europe.
Ultimately, the book offers a plea for acknowledging each other’s stories, with their many variants, ambiguities and contradictions. And it encourages all of us to ask whether it is possible, in this spirit of recognition, to pursue a respectful, do-no-harm Brexit – the smarter, kinder and gentler Brexit possible in our hard-edged epoch of resentment and frustration.