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'.

Sociality vs. The Social

Sociality vs. the social

Beyond Politics

As a general rule, the intellectual will approach a subject in absentia, investigate and then present his diagnosis. Thus, our discipline shows a certain inborn mistrust of the common sense of the masses (‘the worst of metaphysics,’ stated Engels). This mistrust is lacking somewhat in originality; but it is deeply rooted in the collective memory of the scholar, undoubtedly for two principal reasons: on the one hand, the masses* are shamelessly preoccupied, i.e. without hypocrisy or desire for legitimation, with the materiality of life; with the near-to-hand, one might say, in contrast with an ideal or a deferment of pleasure. On the other hand, the masses have escaped the great numbers game, the quantifying, a concept which ...

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