What are urban tribes?

Urban tribes are groups of people who share similar lifestyles, activities and interests . Generally these groups are adherents of a lifestyle different from the main culture.

They are composed of groups of people who seek to obtain the same identity, whether in the same aesthetic tastes, rules, language, music and even ideology.

In the 1980s, Michel Maffesoli described urban tribes as the new phenomenon of subculture . Since then, the term has become part of everyday life.

Examples of urban tribes

Currently, there are many types of urban tribes, each with its own characteristics. Clothing and musical style are often the main ways of expressing a tribe's ideology and beliefs.

Below are examples of some of the best-known urban tribes in the world:


In the picture, one of the most famous rap groups in Brazil: Racionais MC's.

Rappers are people who are adept at the musical genre known as rap . Its origins date back to the 1970s, when rap emerged on the outskirts of New York.

Composed of a majority of young black people, the highlight of this tribe is due to the fact that they expose their messages against social and racial inequalities through music, composed by strong lyrics in the form of rhymes.

Rappers usually wear baggy clothes, big sporty shoes and caps. They also carry accessories such as gold bracelets and necklaces.

They follow the style of dance called break dance , they like graffiti and are fans of freestyle : rhymes made in improvisation.

The highlight of this urban culture was the late 1990s. However, it still remains one of the best known and most appreciated music genres in the world.

Eminem, Snoop Dogg, Jay-Z and 50 cent are some of the most famous rap singers in the world. In Brazil, rap is strongly represented by the group Racionais MC's who were very successful in the 1990s.

Other famous Brazilian rappers are: Emicida, Criolo, Marcelo D2, MV Bill, among others.


Representative photo of Gothic urban tribe.

This urban tribe is derived from Punk and was born in the United Kingdom, between the 1970s and 1980s. Soon after, it spread to other countries.

Its members tend to be apolitical and admire elements related to death and the occult.

They also have melancholy as a great mark and their style of clothing is composed of black colors, preferably with leather material, in addition to boots, piercings and religious elements in the jewelry, such as the five-pointed star and the cross.

The musical style of the Goths is known as Gothic Rock. However, they also listen to Heavy Metal , in addition to other styles within rock and roll .

The Cure , The Sisters of Mercy and Bauhaus are some of the best-known goth bands in the world.


Image from the Woodstock festival in 1969.

This urban tribe was born in the 1960s, during the Vietnam War. Its followers are generally sympathizers of anarchist ideology and are nature lovers. They follow a collectivist and nomadic ideology of life.

The members of this tribe usually wear long hair, colorful and loose clothes and preach peace, love and sexual freedom.

The biggest Hippie event ever held was the 1969 Woodstock , which featured artists such as Janis Joplin and The Who.


In the image, one of the most famous punk bars in England.

Born in the 1970s, punks frequent the tribe's own bars and usually mix with skinheads and heavies (admirers of the Heavy Metal musical style ). Its political ideology is marked by anti-fascism and anti-capitalism.

They are known for having different and colorful haircuts, as well as piercings and tattoos. They usually wear a black leather jacket and black shirt with symbols of anarchism or some social slogan.

The Ramones and The Clash are two of the most famous punk bands in the world. In Brazil, the bands Ratos de Porão and Inocentes have been part of Brazilian punk culture since 1980.


In the image, skaters on their own skate rink practicing tricks.

This urban tribe is derived from the sport of Skateboarding , and its members are known for performing skateboard tricks .

Unlike other urban tribes that derive from musical or aesthetic genres, skaters are practitioners of a sport, just like surfers.

Most do not have a defined aesthetic and do not have a specific musical preference.

Rastafarians (or Rasta)

In the image, the example of a member of the Rastafarian urban tribe.

This urban tribe follows Rastafarianism: a religious and political movement, started in Jamaica in the 1930s and adopted by many groups around the world, that combines Protestant Christianity, mysticism and a Pan-African political consciousness.

Members of this tribe often listen to reggae, hip hop and ska . They like a simple and natural lifestyle and value peace, happiness and friendship.

They usually wear dreadlocks like in the image above, as well as sandals and comfortable clothes. They are also adept at clothing or accessories in the colors of the Jamaican flag.


In the image, an example of an event held for Otakus.

This urban tribe is fascinated by Japanese culture and music. They like to read manga (typically Japanese comic books), are fans of anime (Japanese animations) and oriental video games.

They usually dress like their favorite characters from anime or comics, investing in colors and accessories.


In the image, an example of a man with a Hipster lifestyle.

The members of this urban tribe are lovers of indie and alternative music. They have aesthetic interests that are unconventional to the main culture and enjoy the vintage aesthetic , both in clothing and decor.

They usually frequent unknown or unpopular places, consume organic and artisanal foods and have peaceful and progressive environmentalist views.

Other examples of urban tribes

Urban tribes are constantly growing and changing around the world. Surfers, nerds, geeks and bikers are examples of other tribes that have thousands of adherents.

In Brazil, two tribes are famous for following well-known musical styles: the funkeiros and pagodeiros.

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