Tribalism is the state of being organized by, or advocating for, tribes or tribal lifestyles. Human evolution has primarily occurred in small groups, as opposed to mass societies, and humans naturally maintain a social network. In popular culture, tribalism may also refer to a way of thinking or behaving in which people are loyal to their social group above all else,[1] or, derogatorily, a type of discrimination or animosity based upon group differences.[2]


The word "tribe" can be defined to mean an extended kin group or clan with a common ancestor, or can also be described as a group with shared interests, lifestyles and habits. The proverb "birds of a feather flock together" describes homophily,[3] the human tendency to form friendship networks with people of similar occupations, interests, and habits.[4] Some tribes can be located in geographically proximate areas, like villages or bands, though telecommunications enables groups of people to form digital tribes using tools like social networking websites.

In terms of conformity,[5] tribalism has been defined as a "subjectivity" or "way of being" social frame in which communities are bound socially beyond immediate birth ties by the dominance of various modalities of face-to-face and object integration.[6] Ontologically, tribalism is oriented around the valences of analogy, genealogy and mythology. That means that customary tribes have their social foundations in some variation of these tribal orientations, while often taking on traditional practices (e.g. Abrahamic religions such as Christianity, Judaism, and Islam), and modern practices, including monetary exchange, mobile communications, and modern education.[7]