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'.
The Affectual Nebula
‘Noi siamo la splendida realtà’. This slightly clumsy phrase was discovered in a lost corner of southern Italy, and without any claim to pretence, it sums up what sociality is all about. It contains in miniature all of sociality's various elements: the relativism of life, the grandeur and tragedy of the everyday, the burden of the world around us which we bear as best we can; all of which are expressed in that ‘we’ which forms the glue holding everything together. We have dwelled so often on the dehumanization and the disenchantment with the modern world and the solitude it induces that we are no longer capable of seeing the networks of solidarity that exist within.
In more than one respect, social existence ...