The Evolution of Tribalism

Authored by: Edouard Machery

The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of the Social Mind

Print publication date:  December  2016
Online publication date:  November  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138827691
eBook ISBN: 9781315530178
Adobe ISBN: 9781315530161

10.4324/9781315530178.ch5

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Abstract

Tribalism is a complex psychological phenomenon: It involves emotions – such as disgust and sometimes hatred at the members of outgroups or outrage when their behavior violates ingroup norms – preferences – typically, but not always, a preference for interacting with the members of one’s own groups – stereotypes and prejudices – which underlie expectations about ingroup members’ interactions with outgroup members – and normative cognition – people often have different norms governing interactions with ingroup and outgroup members. It is also a socially important phenomenon, which fuels between-group conflicts in the contemporary world – from genocides such as the genocide in Rwanda to unrelenting conflicts such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – and possibly within-society cultural phenomena such as racism. Improving our understanding of tribalism may give us more tools for dealing with between-group conflicts and within-society cultural phenomena, for example by allowing better training of mediators involved in between-group conflicts.

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