Civic pride is a concept that has occupied an increasing part of my thoughts for some time now. I have reached two conclusions. Civil society is inherently divisive. Community is inherently unifying. I am basing these two conclusions on my reading of the work of prominent sociologists and social anthropologists.
Civic pride is an expression of tribalism. I am going to address this more fully in a series of essays that I am just beginning to write. For now, I want focus on one aspect of civic pride, that of sports.
This Sunday the Kansas City Chiefs will try to maintain their position as the most successful team in professional football. The metropolitan Kansas City area is awash in Chiefs Mania. I must admit that I find myself swept up in the excitement of living in a city whose team has the best record.
I find myself speculating on what other parameters could be used to advance feelings of civic pride. Could I transfer my feelings of pride from sports onto being proud that my city had the lowest poverty rate of any city in America? Or perhaps having the lowest homicide rate of any city? Then again there is the issue of homelessness. How proud could I be if Kansas City had shelter for everyone within her boundaries?
Since I live in Independence, could I be comfortable if the problematic issues listed above were nonexistent in my city because they had just been chased across the city boundary to Kansas City or another suburb? If the problems listed were solved across the entire Kansas City Metropolitan area, would my pride be justified if other cities in Missouri still struggled with the same issues? Is civic pride just an expression of tribal dominance? Is pride always divisive?
If, as I believe, community is unifying, is it possible to replace the divisiveness of tribalism with the expression of co-unity in mass society? How might mass society be structured to effect the emergence of community in lieu of tribalism?