A tribe is viewed, historically or developmentally, as a social group existing before the development of, or outside of, states. Many anthropologists used the term tribal society to refer to societies organized largely on the basis of kinship, especially corporate descent groups (see clan and kinship).
Some theorists hold that tribes represent a stage in social evolution intermediate between bands and states. Other theorists argue that tribes developed after, and must be understood in terms of their relationship to, states.
'Tribe' is a contested term due to its roots in colonial anthropological foundations and the connotations that these hierarchical definitions have. It is common practice to use alternative terms like 'ethnic group', or nation.
Famous quotes containing the word tribe:
“Sherif Ali, so long as the Arabs fight tribe against tribe, so long will they be a little people, a silly people, greedy, barbarous, and cruel, as you are.”
—Robert Bolt (19241995)
“I want to celebrate these elms which have been spared by the plague, these survivors of a once flourishing tribe commemorated by all the Elm Streets in America. But to celebrate them is to be silent about the people who sit and sleep underneath them, the homeless poor who are hauled away by the city like trash, except it has no place to dump them. To speak of one thing is to suppress another.”
—Lisel Mueller (b. 1924)
“Poor and content is rich, and rich enough,
But riches fineless is as poor as winter
To him that ever fears he shall be poor.
Good God, the souls of all my tribe defend
—William Shakespeare (15641616)