Summary of David Bereby's Essay 'It Takes a Tribe"
English and Literature
Submitted By aayushmaan
Summary of ‘It Takes A Tribe’ by ‘David Berreby’
David Berreby is a research writer, who has deeply observed and analyzed the human nature of association, in his prose ”It Takes A Tribe”. Berreby claims, through his prose, that humans automatically and subconsciously, want and try to become a part of something larger than them (9). Prof. Mahzarin R. Banaji, who led a study about ‘subconscious tribal beliefs’, argues that people act accordingly once divided into groups, even if they know that the divisions are arbitrary and futile (‘It Takes A Tribe’ 10). Many of the surveys and examples presented in Berreby’s article are based on the college life of students. Berreby demonstrates that a college campus breeds competitive spirit and therefore tribalism (9). Berreby also writes that, “A sense of ‘us’ brings with it a sense of ‘them’”. “We may come to believe, that an essential trait separates us from the rest of humanity (them)”, he adds. A person relating to a particular tribe usually begins to dissociate with another tribe (9). Prof. Robert M. Saplosky’s e-mail interview declares, in detail, how the faculty and students of Stanford University are affiliated with layers of social groups, persisting from the university notch right till their chosen majors. They are familiar with their rival groups at each level (‘It takes A tribe’ 9). The embarrassment or discomfort faced to enter a group is directly proportional to the value a member has for that group (Berreby 11). Berreby finally cites a confession of Prof. Banaji, who says that it is difficult to break off a certain community that has played a part in your present identity (12).
Berreby, David. "Rituals and Traditions; It Takes a Tribe." The New York Times. The New York Times, 01 Aug. 2004. Web. 31 Aug....