- This article concerns the sociological concept of neotribalism and not the reemergence of ethnic identities that followed the end of the Cold War.
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Neotribalism (a.k.a. neo-tribalism and modern tribalism) is a sociological concept which postulates that human beings have evolved to live in tribal society, as opposed to mass society, and thus will naturally form social networks constituting new "tribes".
French sociologist Michel Maffesoli was perhaps the first to use the term neotribalism in a scholarly context. Maffesoli predicted that as the culture and institutions of modernism declined, societies would embrace nostalgia and look to the organizational principles of the distant past for guidance, and that therefore the post-modern era would be the era of neotribalism.
Work by researchers such as American political scientist Robert D. Putnam and a 2006 study by McPherson, Smith-Lovin and Brasiers published in the American Sociological Review seem to support at least the more moderate neotribalist arguments. Data has pointed to a general breakdown in the social structure of modern civilization due to more frequent moves for economic reasons, longer commutes and a lack of emphasis in the media narrative on the desirability of strong friendships and community bonds.
- Maffesoli, Michel (1996). The Time of the Tribes: The Decline of Individualism in Mass Society. London: Sage.
- McPherson, M.; Smith-Lovin, L.; Brashears, M. E. (2006). "Social Isolation in America: Changes in Core Discussion Networks over Two Decades". American Sociological Review. 71 (3): 353–75. doi:10.1177/000312240607100301.