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 Community of Destiny
Obsessed as we have become with the great entities imposed on us since the eighteenth century – History, Politics, Economics, the Individual – it is difficult for us to focus on ‘the most extreme concrete’ (Walter Benjamin) that is the life of the ordinary person. It would appear, however, that this will be a crucial, or at least unavoidable, focus for decades to come. And it is not new. Within the framework of these pages, ever faithful to my cause, I shall try to show both its anthropological roots and the specific modulations that it displays today.
There are times when what matters is less a question of the individual than the community of which he or she is a ...