Social identity is a means to an end, the end being the maintenance of a community with flexible but strong boundaries. Ultimate objectives of social identity therefore include mutual protection against perceived threats, and strategic sharing of resources. This is why social identity often transcends geographic boundaries; in a globalized world, geo-political boundaries are actually less significant than social identity. The concept of social identity therefore becomes strongly connected with the sociological needs of in-group/out-group status and consciousness. Historically social identity was forged via top-down methods, within hierarchical societies. Usually the process of social identity formation occurred via political elites or rulers who "established their identity by differentiating themselves downwards," (Geller and Beruilly 47). Eventually, social identity becomes a self-perpetuating phenomenon with "ruled micro-communities" differentiating themselves "laterally from their neighbors," (Gellner and Breuilly 47).
In other words, an in-group/out-group consciousness seems essential to community construction and is embedded in...
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