Michel Maffesoli (1996) argues forcefully that the political, as the one essential pole of modernity, has become saturated, as has the individual, the other essential pole. In other words, the saturation of the political goes hand in hand with the saturation of individualism. In post-modernity these two poles have lost their ascendance, yielding for sociality — 'groupism' — as the spirit of the new times. According to Maffesoli, we are presently experiencing the passage from the polis to the thiase, or from the political order to the realm of collective identification.

Wheras the former favours individuals and rational, contractual associations, the latter places the emphasis upon the affective, feeling dimension. On the one hand is the social, with its own consistency, a strategy and a finality, and on the other a mass in which aggregations of every order are crytallized — haphazard, ephemeral and hazily drawn (p. 72).