In their book, Individualization, translated from German by Patrick Camiller, sociologists Ulrich Beck and Elisabeth Beck-Gernsheim write radically and persuasively about the fragmentation in our times of nations, societies and families, and ask:
" So, what is left? ...we would like to indicate at least the possibility of a different kind of integration and to put it forward for discussion. To summarize our basic idea: if highly individualized societies can be bound together at all, it is only, first, through a clear understanding of precisely this situation and, second, if people can be successfully mobilized and motivated for the challenges present at the centre of their lives (unemployment, destruction of nature, etc). Where the old sociality is 'evaporating', society must be reinvented. Integration therefore becomes possible if no attempt is made to arrest and push back the breakout of individuals. It can happen if we make conscious use of this situation and try to forge new, politically open, creative forms of bond and alliance. The questions of whether we still have the strength, the imagination - and the time - for this 'invention of the political' is, to be sure, a matter of life and death. "
I guess I do believe, in a small way, but fiercely, that the links forged across distance and difference and the reflective self expression fostered by the Internet, online communities and blogging are potentially part of this reinvention.