'tribal communities' are in a sense the first real communities of affinity. agricultural community is defined by geography, identity is strongly related to place. the identity of industrial community is defined by purpose. tribal community is defined by affinity and relationship. people belong to post-modern tribes because they want to - that's all. could this be 'gen X' and/or 'gen y'. perhaps.
the people of tribal communities are hard to categorise because every tribe is different. tribes have tribal members, and people today belong to multiples 'tribes'. you can't understand a tribe from the outside, which is why tribes usually resist or ignore outsiders trying to organise them. [but you can market to a tribe if you have their vibe...] you can't program for a tribe, but you can join them or host them on their terms. tribes have their own language, dress, jokes... they aren't necessarily big enough to be a 'sub-culture'. they may just be a group of friends. some tribes have tight membership, some loose. once a tribe becomes too formal, it takes on institutional or 'industrial' form. because tribes are not institutions as such, they are inherently fluid.
if the agriculturalists built the foundations and the industrialists renovated the building, the tribals moved out of the building to somewhere more comfortable. tribes set up camp, stay a while and then move on. stay for as long as it suits you. place is temporary, and in that sense convenient and functional. tribal people may not recognise the history of a place. this is not necessarily disrespect, just lack of knowledge or relationship.
young adults are tribal in the sense that they finally have the freedom to start to explore the world. being a nomad is more about mobility, exploration and autonomy than impermanence or superficiality. the car and airplane define place for tribal people (and the bicycle for some...)
nomadic people are highly attuned to the aesthetics of space. when you can't choose your space, you make a space your own - agriculturalists and industrialists do this with varying degrees of permanence and functionality. when you can choose your space, you choose a space that is tailored to your presence and purpose. you meet for drinks in that pub or wine bar because it's a wonderful setting, and when it gets sold and redecorated you move on. you eat in that cafe not just because the food is good, but because the whole aesthetic is. for nomadic people space IS experience. you could say that the young people decorating the youth room at church is 'tribal', and in a real sense it is. but nomadic people inhabit multiple places whose spaces they enjoy or adapt at will. churches are a problem for most tribal/nomadic people in terms of place AND space: if you offer me a permanent space, then let me do anything with it... [I'm also thinking that tribal space might be seen as 'relational' space... need to ponder that.
and perhaps for tribal people, space is almost more important than place. in this sense they are like industrials - a great space to be could be anywhere geographically. of course, if we're talking gen x and gen y, we are also talking about more 'indoor' generations...
tribal time reflects the tribe's identity. because it only makes sense within the tribe, it is often seen as fluid time, spontaneous time. there may be many or few rules about time. it may seem fast or slow. the important thing is that tribes have their own internal, changing rhythms. external schedules make no sense, which is why tribal people respond an event, not a program.
and also why tribal time is option time, last minute time, flow time. flow from one thing to the next. not surprisingly some people use surfing images. don't watch the clock, look out for a great wave. a healthy corrective to being driven by the clock!
with tribal community, relationship precedes purpose. community comes first. the tribe may share a common purpose, but their shared commitment is as much about the people as anything else. which is why it might just be about 'hanging out. 'if you have a sense of community, your purpose, your tribal identity, might change. purpose can be fluid. tribes enjoy being together for its own sake, which is why programming often seems foreign to them.
tribes may seem or be self-centred, they may also be passionately and zealously focussed beyond themselves. the relationships among tribal members might last for a lifetime, but the tribal experience may be brief.
tribes have their own rules, roles and forms of community. their organisation is internal, often making sense only to them. leadership may be charismatic, based on expertise, gender, or whatever. leadership may be clear or unclear, hierarchical or maeutic, long-term or short-term.
tribal church started by being industrial church trying to organise the next generation into 'cool' places and programs. it largely hasn't worked, has it? it's not that tribal people don't like order, it's just that tribes are smaller than conglomerates, corporations. order comes from communication among a few people. you don't need a committee meeting - you make a few phone calls or chat together online.
in a tribal world, people recognise the authority of others outside the tribe based either on shared norms or on 'authenticity' - a deeper genuineness and vulnerability about being human. tribal people don't respond to industrial leaders' power but they may respond to their person. tribal people don't respond to agricultural people's strictures but may respond to their stories... (too much alliteration - sorry, I've been restraining myself)
hmm... this is not my usual writing style... all sounding too definitive rather than saying "I wonder if...." So put that in front of all of those sentences.
I wonder whether agricultural leadership is 'constructive', industrial leadership is 'adaptive', tribal leadership is 'insert clever word here', and virtual leadership is 'connective'. but then, i could do these word play category things all day.... I blame the study of matrix algebra at university on this...
I'll go back to writing poetry after this - it's so much more satisfyingly ambiguous.