DiscoverBreak Down. Wake Up.030 - Speaking outside of the checkboxes with Nora Bateson
030 - Speaking outside of the checkboxes with Nora Bateson

030 - Speaking outside of the checkboxes with Nora Bateson

Update: 2020-12-29


How involuntary family separation during her international migration awakened a complexity systems thinker to the illusion of safety in institutions and an even deeper need for people to listen to and understand context

Nora Bateson has been working in complexity systems thinking for almost her entire career - focused on helping people and organizations contextualize complexity in order to solve challenging problems. 

So when she experienced the negative limitations of institutions that focused solely on procedure and stripped context from a decision making process, she knew she had to tell her story. In this episode she speaks up, not just for her family, but also for so many immigrant families whose experiences are absent from the polarized public dialogue that no doubt has significant influence over politics, policy and procedure. 

After moving to Sweden for love, Nora found herself and her family in an incredibly tragic and frustrating institutional process that denied her daughter entry into the country where her family resided because of her age, a number on a checkbox on the form to enter the country. 

As Nora mentions, this conversation is about much more than just her own experience. It's about identity politics, about who has the right to call a place "home", about empathy that stretches across socio-economic and national identity categories, about losing faith in a system that you thought was designed to support you, about the deep sadness of not being able to have the context of your situation heard in the midst of a life altering decision, 

In this episode, we explore the negative impact of objectivity and taking things out of context on polarization and reductionist thinking, our deep need to be seen not just as one identity or category but in our whole complex selves, and the importance of not only understanding the broader narratives surrounding an experience but the history of those narratives in shaping the stories we collectively create about that experience. 

You can find out more about Nora and her work by visiting

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The Break Down. Wake Up. Season 1 podcast is sponsored by JAEC Foundation: Rethinking Mental Health.

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030 - Speaking outside of the checkboxes with Nora Bateson

030 - Speaking outside of the checkboxes with Nora Bateson

Meg Mateer