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A term coined by French sociologist Michel Maffesoli, in his 1985 study The Time of the Tribes: The Decline of Individualism in Mass Society. This was a clever inversion of a common sociological theme concerning the prominence of individualism in a time of the decline of community. Maffesoli identified neo-tribes, primarily in urban contexts, as sources of informal, often emotionally driven, cultural expression. The term is a relatively modern variant on the classic term subculture, and the notion of ‘tribal’ has appealed to new generations of sociologists and has found currency in work on lifestyle sports and research into informal cultures of sporting commitment, such as parkour.

Subjects: Sport and Leisure.

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