Social identities are subject to constant redefinition by their bearers and others. Groups can change their composition, or their status, or their name, or their affiliation, or even all these features. There is no reason to believe that the ethnic group, the preferred unit of study of social and cultural anthropologists, is exempt from such processes of remoulding. In fact, the recent and artificial nature of some ethnic identities – a number of which have apparently only formed in response to colonial rule – has repeatedly been stressed.