Us vs Them: A Case for Social Empathy

64 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2017 Last revised: 2 Jul 2018

See all articles by Joshua Krook

Joshua Krook

University of Adelaide, Students

Date Written: April 4, 2014


The modern city is a place of social circles; clusters of contacts who know each other and strangers who don’t. It is a place where diverse relationships are in decline. In the city, strangers seldom meet beyond daily functions. Instead they brush by with a haste and preoccupation that so defines a century of 'too little time.' Where once we valued common courtesy, now we encourage the message of 'stranger danger.' Often we do not test this message as we grow older. Instead we live side by side with strangers, and remain firmly as ever, psychologically miles apart.

In this book I attempt to address this problem. I ask the following questions:

1) How can we bring back mutual understanding, empathy and common concern between ourselves, strangers and other groups?

2) How can we reduce our instinctual urge to categorize other people?

3) How can we restore a sense of community into modern cities?

Keywords: empathy, social psychology, politics, racism, discrimination, sexism, xenophobia, religious intolerance, categorisation, city planning

JEL Classification: P40, P59, Y80, L00

Suggested Citation

Krook, Joshua, Us vs Them: A Case for Social Empathy (April 4, 2014). U. of Adelaide Law Research Paper No. 2018-89, Available at SSRN: or

Joshua Krook (Contact Author)

University of Adelaide, Students ( email )


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