In this work, French theorist Michel Maffesoli pursues and extends his project of decoding contemporary societies. Here Maffesoli questions the mundane stuff of contemporary sociality, seeking to discern its primary mode of expression - its forms, style, rules and principles - its aesthetics. The advent of postmodernity marks the beginning of the "society of the image". It is as if the fragmentation of the social has gradually and necessarily corresponded to massive crumbling of our representation of the real and resulted in their infinite refraction. Henceforward we are living in the heart of an ever-increasing entanglement of objects, signs, and images. In the study, Maffesoli seeks to explore those unobtrusive links that regulate and organize the ensemble of our representations - the raw material refashioned in our imaginary and our fantasies - exploring what it is that is recognizably "postmodern" about them. Maffesoli stresses the connection that exists between concern for the present, daily life, and the aesthetic of the imaginary, defined here as empathy, community, and shared emotion.
He proposes a map of "the vast domain of the collective imaginary", allowing us to better understand where today's culture stands and helping us to perceive within its clamorous confines the outlines, still frail, of a "community ideal".
Part 1 Treatise on style: by way of introduction; some generalities on style; the transmutation of values; an aesthetic style; style and daily life; style and communication. Part 2 The imaginal world: fear of the image; the image as "mesocosm"; the linking image; "the imaged object"; transfiguration by images. Part 3 The communitarian ideal.