Kai Erikson describes communities as being “boundary maintaining” (9), which means they share a defined geographic and/or cultural space.    How might this definition help you understand any of the texts we’ve read?

Erikson’s idea of communities being “boundary maintaining” helps us to better understand the texts we’ve read because it highlights the importance of shared identities and values that can be used to define a community. In many of the texts, there is an emphasis on how communities are formed through shared experiences and beliefs. For example, in “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson, the people of a small village have established their own traditions which they all participate in regardless of any personal feelings or opinions about it. This common rite serves as a unifying factor for its members and reinforces the notion that they all share something in common which binds them together – their culture.

Kai Erikson describes communities as being “boundary maintaining” (9), which means they share a defined geographic and/or cultural space.    How might this definition help you understand any of the texts we’ve read?

Boundaries also serve as markers for separating one group from another. These boundaries can be geographic such as state lines or rivers; cultural such as language or religion; and even ideological such as political beliefs or personal ideologies. By establishing these boundaries, groups create distinct identities that make them different from other groups while allowing them to maintain their own sense of community.

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From Erikson’s definition we can further understand how important boundaries are in creating strong communities with defined identities that give individuals a sense of belonging while distinguishing themselves from others outside the group. Boundaries not only help shape individual identity but also provide protection against outside influences that could disrupt communal harmony within its members which is why they should be respected and defended when necessary.

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