A person is any plurality of people considered as a unit, nevertheless each of these individuals can be regarded as distinct and independent from each other. It has been postulated by eminent philosophers like Bertrand Russell and Henry Kissinger that people can be considered as a single entity of which the various components are independent and have their own individual identities. The most important aspect about a people is its political character. In terms of political analysis, the person has its parties and camps with common interests to sustain and support. Consequently, a person tends to think and act according to the prevalent national mood.
People have been grouped collectively for centuries based on their geographical location and social hierarchy. For instance, in Europe during the Middle Ages, people were grouped together based on their aristocratic class and were known as Clans. Peopling is an inclusive term for the peoples who, at different times and places, have left their distinct cultural traces in order to form a group. The word peopling may be used to describe the culture, beliefs, or ethnic identity of a nation, town, or group of people.
Peopling refers to the process by which diverse peoples come together to form a new ethnic group. According to some scholars, even though the concept of peopling is not clear-cut, it is evident that old traditions and ideas of collectivism, collectivity, and community have often been deeply rooted in the minds of young people, which have then spilled over to create a new cultural reality. Young people today, who are deeply interested in collective studies and culture, may understand more clearly the meaning of peopling.
The essence of a people’s consciousness was to form an ethnic group, i.e., a group that recognized itself as a distinct cultural entity. This concept is extremely vague and does not have a particular reference to nationality or ethnicity. It also has been argued by eminent scholars that people tend to relate more to other people of the same ethnic group. Thus, for example, a Pakistani living in Ireland would feel closer to an Irish person than to a British person, because they share the same ethnic background. Similarly, a North African would be attracted to a Westerner, because they share some commonalities of language, culture, and history.
Peopling did not have an ethnic identity; rather, people identified themselves most frequently as members of a group. Peopling thus served as a useful mechanism to bind groups of people, especially in history when political power was based on the ability to rule over a large number of people. However, the concept to people as an ethnic group is highly questionable, and many argue that there is no simple way to draw a distinction between a group and a set of people. For instance, in modern times, there are different ethnic groups in Europe and there are various social classes within each of them. Thus, to draw the conclusion that there are a finite number of groups and that they are all different from each other is problematic. Group identities therefore emerge only very late in the development of modern societies.
The concept of people as an ethnic group has been around for a long time, and it was used by leaders and conquerors to divide conquered people into various groups. Thus, although the concept of nationality is extremely important in today’s world, ethnicity has had a much bigger role to play. As a result, the term people most commonly refer to all persons living in a country irrespective of their common heritage or language, while the term nationality is used to designate a particular group or nationality of people.