Posted by: Edward | June 25, 2006

Invisible Social Revolution: part one.

Are we witnessing a social revolution, a fundamental shift in how people interact and socialize?

No we are experiencing it. No one witnesses it.

Formal association, formal social bonds are being forgotten. Informal association, which is much harder to track or watch, is overtaking it

There is a recurring trope among social circles that I drift though to want to refer to themselves as a tribe. Someone who sees things in terms of a developmental levels theory such as the Spiral Dynamics theory popularized by Ken Wilber might be tempted to classify this as an indicator of a lower level behaviour or social structure.

However, the behaviour being labeled tribal is not identical to the older forms under that name. Older tribe forms were based around interrelated extended family groups whereas these new “tribes” are generally assumed to be constructed of non-related individuals, exceptions of course exist. I tended to call one of the groups I am part of the hive; insects as yet have never accused anyone of cultural appropriation. The other one I generally refer to by the name of the website that established the connection and helps to sustain it. I’ll refer to it as the cult, short for subculture.

For ease of use I’m going to continue to use the word tribe as the label for the social groupings I’m examining despite any confusions and with apologies to anyone who feels I’m appropriating what I have no right to.

While the tribes discussed in the Ethan Watters book Urban Tribes are similar, the groups I’m involved aren’t so strictly localized as both started as internet communications. The local aspect is important and will be discussed later.

Call this a teaser, more later.


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