In recent years the ability of holistic social theories to account for the rights, duties, even the reality, of the individual have been called into question more and more. At the same time, interest in individualism in a whole variety of forms has been gaining ground, both as an object of study and as a methodology in itself. Individualism brings together essays by eminent social scientists from many countries. They discuss the question of
individualism from a historical, methodological, hermeneutical, political, and sociological point of view and try to reconcile methodological individualism with the classical approach of sociological theory, based on collective identity. The contributors are: Bertrand Badie,
Pierre Birnbaum, Raymond Boudon, Francois Chazel, Jon Elster, Ernest Gellner, Guy Hermet, Georges Lavau, Jean Leca, Alessandro Pizzorno, Adam Przeworski, and Charles Tilly.
'Full of felicities and good argument, Birnbaum and Leca have provided a timely and important volume, exposing old as well as new weaknesses in methodological individualism, while offering many examples of alternative approaches and applications that are in danger of being subsumed by the banal orthodoxy of rational choice theory. It will be instructive to students and a resource to scholars.'
Ian Forbes, University of Southampton, Political Studies (1992) XL