Why Individualisation Drives Us Into Tribes


Tribes are dead, long live tribalism! The eminent philosopher Peter Sloterdijk explains in an essay what’s behind this statement, and claims that our emancipation from "organic communities" and globalisation are responsible. Sloterdijk will be speaking at the GDI on 22 January 2018.

Individualisation brings us freedom. We can choose where we reside, whom we spend time with and how we live. The primal tribe, our family becomes marginalised, especially as we often move far away. Philosopher Peter Sloterdijk, who for years has been among the thoughtleaders in the GDI ranking, says in his essay that we are becoming estranged from our origins.

On the other hand, our self-chosen affiliations - affinities based on sympathy - are gaining in importance. We can shape these small groups. We can participate and become an active member. Moreover, we become a part of a microcosm. These clans form the tribal constant of our time, says Sloterdijk in his essay «Der weite Weg zur Weltgesellschaft» in the German magazine «Handelsblatt» (Paywall).

But individualisation, and the resulting alienation, are not the only reasons for the strong tribalization. Globalisation is another reason. We are all part of the world's population. As a collective we try to solve global problems.

However, this group is huge and the voice of the individual unheard. Moreover, the world's population is defined by the fact that its individual members are excluded.

What does this mean for our identity? How can we deal with the tension between small, narrow groups and this huge, intangible one? Where do we belong?

Peter Sloterdijk answers these questions in the chargeable essay “Der weite Weg zur Weltgesellschaft“. On 22 January 2018 Sloterdijk will be speaking at the GDI conference “The Return of Tribes“. Sign up now!