Why are we drawn to our tribes?

Aug 2019
27
Canada
Hi everyone.

I’ve been wondering what draws and keeps people loyal to their tribes. I’ll go as a example. My parents come from Croatia, and the region where they come from is called Lika. My parents and other members of my family have a fierce loyalty to this area and to others from this area. I’d say more than the country itself.

It’s kinda strange to me. I’ve had a saying that in kindergarten we all learn to share, by the time we are all adults, no one is into sharing anymore. Except with our tribe.

Any input? Thanks!
 

Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
6,426
Portugal
Hi everyone.

I’ve been wondering what draws and keeps people loyal to their tribes. I’ll go as a example. My parents come from Croatia, and the region where they come from is called Lika. My parents and other members of my family have a fierce loyalty to this area and to others from this area. I’d say more than the country itself.

It’s kinda strange to me. I’ve had a saying that in kindergarten we all learn to share, by the time we are all adults, no one is into sharing anymore. Except with our tribe.

Any input? Thanks!
Probably this is more a theme about Sociology that about History.

(This is in the "General History" subforum)
 

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,970
Dispargum
Governments have a vested interest in fostering the loyalty of their citizens. Loyalty is the underlying reason of why people obey the laws, pay taxes, serve in the military, etc. A state can't function without loyal citizens. Unfortunately, all too often, this means that states encourage their citizens to think in terms of us vs them. People have to pay their taxes and serve in the army to keep 'them' from interfering in 'our' national destiny. One way states do this is through their monopoly on education, especially history classes. We see it all the time here in Historum - people spewing the propaganda they were fed as children. Us vs them is one of the oldest political tricks in the book, but people still fall for it.
 

PADDYBOY

Historum Emeritas
Jan 2007
6,545
Scotland
It's probably an extended family thing. I may be being policaly incorrect here but if they look like me and sound like me they probably think like me and I expect we can trust each other and protect each other and all that sort of stuff.
The problem with tribalism in todays world is that very few of us live in communities of 150 to 300 individuals. Most of us live in cities numbering thousands to millions. We don't all look like each other anymore.
 
Sep 2014
994
Texas
remaining loyal to your tribe is about survival. It's the most primitive thing still in the brain of human beings. If a Comanche meets a Comanche from another tribe, he knows he is safe, but he can not say that if he runs into a Dakota.
It's shared language, shared culture, shared history. Did you know there is one place in Greece where the language of Sparta still exists? Everyone else speaks the Greek of modern Athens.
There are words from Attala Co, Mississippi where my family is from that is found nowhere else I've heard and I am quite the traveler. When everyone left, that was lost, that history. I found out recently that the Proctors of the OK Cherokee are very distant cousins of mine. My grandfather told me that story when I was nine, abd I discovered he was right. When I die that piece of history will probably die with me. It's not that I don't want to share the story, it's just no one wants to hear it. In a community that has roots and people stick around, history is alive, and it's shared in common. I envy those who can do that.
 

MG1962a

Ad Honorem
Mar 2019
2,350
Kansas
It's probably an extended family thing. I may be being policaly incorrect here but if they look like me and sound like me they probably think like me and I expect we can trust each other and protect each other and all that sort of stuff.
The problem with tribalism in todays world is that very few of us live in communities of 150 to 300 individuals. Most of us live in cities numbering thousands to millions. We don't all look like each other anymore.
There was an anthropological study done years ago that explained humans are hard wired to a small group or tribe. When living in situations that exceed this number, we effectively cut the surplus out of our thinking as a defense mechanism.

They tested this by introducing a person in distress...fallen, feeling sick etc into small village communities and then larger urban city environments and watched how people reacted. In the larger urban area it would take considerable time (if at all) for someone to check on the 'victim' the smaller the community the faster the reaction to the situation was.
 
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MG1962a

Ad Honorem
Mar 2019
2,350
Kansas
Hi everyone.

I’ve been wondering what draws and keeps people loyal to their tribes. I’ll go as a example. My parents come from Croatia, and the region where they come from is called Lika. My parents and other members of my family have a fierce loyalty to this area and to others from this area. I’d say more than the country itself.

It’s kinda strange to me. I’ve had a saying that in kindergarten we all learn to share, by the time we are all adults, no one is into sharing anymore. Except with our tribe.

Any input? Thanks!
In the 90s there was an interesting study looking at tribalism and location. They used sports teams as the test. What they found was people were far more loyal to a physical location than any other social factor. The tribe was created by the interactions of others sharing the same loyalty. For example if a sports team left a location, few supporters would continue to support the team in there new location. But if a new team was introduced to the old location, fan loyalty transferred very quickly
 

Mrbsct

Ad Honorem
Jul 2013
2,659
USA
Because our family is mostly in that group.

So race is not real. But ethnicity is.
 
Jan 2012
487
South Midlands in Merlin's Isle of Gramarye
This is a very challenging question and its roots do lie in history. This is what I call the deeper history as it speaks of origin, landscape and culture - stuff ideas of race and nationality!

My family is native British as our predominant DNA is what used to be called `Celtic' - a term I dislike as it is open to misinterpretation. According to the latest research it means we have been here around 5,000 years. Not as good as the previous research that said 9,000 years but I am adjusting.

Whilst the family has predominantly lived in and around London for two hundred years, in our deeper origin we are from the far north of the island and the far west. For some obscure reason despite our metropolitan milieu, we tend to select mates who share similar origins. Consequently we keep reinforcing who we are. Maybe this is despite a cosmopolitan environment. Strangely, I discovered that both my parents, despite one coming from the East End of London and the other from the West End, were actually distantly related, descended from an old Lothian/Northumbrian border clan into which a niece has also recently married.

Then there is culture. Despite an Anglican veneer, all my seventeenth century ancestors were non-conformists being either Presbyterians or one or other variety of Anabaptist. By and large, despite rural origins, the men tended to be artisans and the women domestic servants. Sometimes this got confused by the necessity to make a living and a reversion into becoming agricultural labourers was not uncommon due to technological change.

As for landscape we seem to have a preference for hills, rivers and large empty spaces. The proliferation of both professional and hobby gardeners is also manifest.

Strange indeed. The most interesting observation of mine - and this goes back fifty years - is that the people who obsess the most about nationality, immigration and race are the product of nineteenth and early twentieth century immigration. Perhaps they are expressing a deeper insecurity. Might there be something psychological going on?
 
Jan 2019
215
Finland
Maybe it's just the same thing that makes us value family members more than non-family members or people we know over strangers but on a larger scale.

Governments have a vested interest in fostering the loyalty of their citizens. Loyalty is the underlying reason of why people obey the laws, pay taxes, serve in the military, etc. A state can't function without loyal citizens. Unfortunately, all too often, this means that states encourage their citizens to think in terms of us vs them. People have to pay their taxes and serve in the army to keep 'them' from interfering in 'our' national destiny. One way states do this is through their monopoly on education, especially history classes. We see it all the time here in Historum - people spewing the propaganda they were fed as children. Us vs them is one of the oldest political tricks in the book, but people still fall for it.
I think this kind of explanation makes the government into some kind of alien entity imposed on a passive population. It can be true, but often or even usually the government is something that emerges from the people and nationalist myths/propaganda are often things the people like to believe about themselves.