In this exciting book Michel Maffesoli argues that the conventional approaches to understanding solidarity and society are deeply flawed. He contends that mass culture has disintegrated and that today social existence is conducted through fragmented tribal groupings, organized around the catchwords, brand-names and sound-bites of consumer culture. The book provides a rich backcloth against which to consider the rise of `identity politics' and the `proliferation of lifestyle cultures'.

By Way of Introduction

By way of introduction

A Few Words of Warning

Ambience is a term that will surface again and again in this book, so it might perhaps be useful to describe the ambience surrounding its creation.

I began a previous book by taking Savanarola as my inspiration; this time it is the name of Machiavelli that I would invoke, referring to what he calls ‘the thinking of the public square’. The following reflection explores, via such notions as puissance,* sociality, the quotidian and the imaginary, the deep foundations of the everyday life of our societies in these closing days of the modern era. With the ground thus cleared, we can forge ahead into the idea of culture, to be understood in its strictest sense, now ...

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