A tribe is viewed, historically or developmentally, as a social group existing before the development of, or outside of, states. Many anthropologists used the term tribal society to refer to societies organized largely on the basis of kinship, especially corporate descent groups (see clan and kinship).
Some theorists hold that tribes represent a stage in social evolution intermediate between bands and states. Other theorists argue that tribes developed after, and must be understood in terms of their relationship to, states.
It is important to note that the word 'tribe' is a contested term due to its roots in colonial anthropological foundations and the connotations that these hierarchical definitions have.
It is common practice to use alternative terms like 'ethnic group' , or nation.