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:
“Public speaking is done in the public tongue, the national or tribal language; and the language of our tribe is the mens language. Of course women learn it. Were not dumb. If you can tell Margaret Thatcher from Ronald Reagan, or Indira Gandhi from General Somoza, by anything they say, tell me how. This is a mans world, so it talks a mans language.”
—Ursula K. Le Guin (b. 1929)
“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)
“The tremendous outflow of intellectuals that formed such a prominent part of the general exodus from Soviet Russia in the first years of the Bolshevist Revolution seems today like the wanderings of some mythical tribe whose bird-signs and moon-signs I now retrieve from the desert dust.”
—Vladimir Nabokov (18991977)