Tribal Theory


  1. I can see why people just give up and go with the flow. It is so difficult to fight against societal and cultural structures which are so rigid and unyielding, sometimes it is easier to just give in and follow your tribe’s rules.

Note: Tribe here means society, culture, religion, family and friends and social circles, country and similar structures. It is a term which is used to describe some theories and does not mean that we are implying that anyone is backward or uncivilized or anything along those lines.

2. This makes you understand why so many tribes are so particular about maintaining their rules and look to have as many people join them. Your size matters and if you have very few people following the rules of the tribe, your tribe does not have much influence. The well being of the tribe is placed above individual well being and rules which benefit the tribe are given importance over everything else. Thus, people who do not fit in are dealt with accordingly depending on the tribe’s extremity. It is a game of numbers and power. The head of the tribe often does not want to lose power or influence either.

Also this is why people who do not fit in are ostracized as they are disrupting the tribal hierarchy, people are so indoctrinated or scared that they dare not associate with anyone different and the tribal rules ensure that they do not mix.

For example, how do we treat women in India, if they married out of choice? Does women’s happiness matter in terms of marriage? What about trying to get as many people to be in your religion either through proselytizing or forcing children to marry only within their own castes or religions?

3. Controlling women and sexuality is in a way a twisted form of assuring your tribal perpetuity. Who bears kids? Women, often do not get to decide when, how and with whom they will have sex but the tribal rules determine that. What if she goes to another tribe? What if the offspring ends up with another tribe?

4. Humans are constantly trying to balance their urge for freedom and urge to belong. It would be great if tribe identities were fluid and people moved around constantly and there were no extremities in any tribe mentality.

Of course, these ideas are fluid and the rigidity of a tribe can vary and sometimes there can be sub tribes which are extreme and some moderate and some loosely tribal.

Note: This idea is influenced or say paraphrased from work of Dr. Northup’s book – Women’s bodies, Women’s wisdom, Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert and from reading and listening to Dr. Betty Dodson and I do not know if they got their ideas from somewhere else or any sociology theory already says what I am saying.

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