It is hard to directly define "a collective" as it is more of a conception than anything. Broad terminology would be calling it a group in which a person belongs to and considers themselves a member of. In said group, the members are motivated by at least one common issue or interest, or work together on a specific project(s) to achieve a common objective.

This could take the form of an athletic team (ex. Italian National Soccer Team)…

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A religion (ex. Catholicism)...

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An occupation (ex. Pizzeria Workers)...
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As well as a race.

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You are part of a collective the moment you are born. Whether it is your family, or the language that you will soon speak. Collectives take a large role in shaping ones identity. When people grow older, they will start to speak in slang with friends, or jargon with co-workers. At every stage of your life you are part of a collective. In some ways, collectives are essential for anyone to grow up, as they provide a way for people to belong.