Earlier blog entries in this space (Culture is Geologic [gone - eaten by former blog host], Tribalization and the Global Economy and Relativism [below], Populism and Power [also eaten]) expressed the view that industrialism, by disrupting awareness of a direct relation to nature, dislodged the web of discourse that integrated tribe and ecosystem and replaced the integrating mythos with a place holder that Lacan refered to as the Name-of-the-Father. This place holder can now be filled, the sentiments of "tribe" artificially but all the more zealously aroused, by any number of banners. One's sense of personal identity is wrapped up in some kind of tribal membership.
I say all the more zealously because in a globalized economy, tribal connections, especially among urban or modern people, are likely to be reaction formations to some degree. Believers of myths today believe them literally and historically, rather than heuristically or metaphorically; fans idolize teams and do battle over loyalties; patriots die for nations that never supported them; gangs fight over territories; people are relieved to be identified as belonging to a market segment. Reaction formation is characterized by overly intense beliefs; overly intense to sustain the lie to oneself.
A little reflection and anyone can see that intense tribal loyalties are artificial yet deadly in a global economy. The organic integrity of pre-literate tribes has long decayed, as we can see directly in the aboriginal peoples of the world whose ways have been sideswiped by globalization. Today, the tribe as a social-psychological form is decadent. A true way of renewal needs to be found.