The distinction between the tribes of Europe are well known, and have indeed led to wars spilling well beyond the bounds of Europe. The threat of such recurrence has brought Helmut Kohl, the previous Chancellor of Germany, to imply in a controversial statement that without a full European unification backed by economic and monetary union (EMU) tribalism in Europe might yet again lead to war and strife in the next millennium. Less well known is the phenomenon of tribalism in Britain. This tribalism stretches between the countries of the Union, Scotland, Wales, Ulster and England, for example, or even within such regional groupings. Tribalism in Britain can be explained in several ways. It can be viewed as how the people in Britain are identified by particular terms and categories that feed into their identities. These terms can be geographical, as in, for instance, dividing the British people according to their residency. This can be both general—for example, from south or north—or it may associated with counties or regions. Class can also be a source of the division unveiled in ‘tribalism’. Social status thus creates the ‘tribe’. In practice, tribalism is seen at its barest with football supporters, where supporters of a certain football club can be viewed as a ‘tribe’ within the wider community. Tribalism can to a lesser extent be connected to other sports, but in all these cases it is connected to a need to belong to some grouping from which identity personal and political can be drawn. Worldwide, there is nothing unusual in this; on the contrary, it is quite basic and quite primitive. If there is a prime question overhanging ‘tribalism’ in developed societies such as British culture, it centres on the degree to which the freedom espoused as a value in such societies can be squared with tribal attitudes.
   See also: football; violence
   Further reading
    Anderson, B. (1983) Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, London: Verso.
    Clarke, P.B. (1996) Deep Citizenship, London: Pluto Press, pp. 93–7.

Encyclopedia of contemporary British culture . . 2014.

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  • Tribalism — Trib al*ism, n. The state of existing in tribes; also, tribal feeling; tribal prejudice or exclusiveness; tribal peculiarities or characteristics. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • tribalism — 1886, “condition of being a tribe,” from TRIBAL (Cf. tribal) + ISM (Cf. ism). Meaning “group loyalty” attested by 1955 …   Etymology dictionary

  • tribalism — [trī′bəl iz΄əm] n. 1. tribal organization, culture, loyalty, etc. 2. a strong sense of identifying with and being loyal to one s tribe, group, etc. tribalist adj., n. tribalistic adj …   English World dictionary

  • Tribalism — The internal social structure of a tribe can vary greatly from case to case, but, due to the small size of tribes, it is always a relatively simple structure, with few (if any) significant social distinctions between individuals. Some tribes are… …   Wikipedia

  • tribalism — [[t]tra͟ɪbəlɪzəm[/t]] 1) N UNCOUNT Tribalism is the state of existing as a tribe. Apartheid used tribalism as the basis of its divide and rule homeland policies. 2) N UNCOUNT (disapproval) You can use tribalism to refer to the loyalties that… …   English dictionary

  • tribalism — tribal ► ADJECTIVE ▪ of or characteristic of a tribe or tribes. ► NOUN (tribals) ▪ members of tribal communities. DERIVATIVES tribalism noun tribalist noun tribally adverb …   English terms dictionary

  • tribalism — noun Date: 1861 1. tribal consciousness and loyalty; especially exaltation of the tribe above other groups 2. strong in group loyalty …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • tribalism — tribalist, n. tribalistic, adj. /truy beuh liz euhm/, n. 1. the customs and beliefs of tribal life and society. 2. strong loyalty to one s own tribe, party, or group. [1885 90; TRIBAL + ISM] * * * …   Universalium

  • tribalism — noun a) The condition of being tribal b) A feeling of identity and loyalty to ones tribe …   Wiktionary

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