This chapter focuses on the connections linking the authority of norms, society and identity. Rousseau's account abruptly modulates from a consideration of a potential conflict between two sources of formation into a conflict between the self as preference maximize and the self as citizen. The nihilism is a consequence of the mutual cancellation that the two sources of value, corresponding to the educative forces of things and society respectively, undergo when articulated by the dual structure of modern social formations: the duality of state and civil society. Durkheim's analysis focuses on pre-state norms in order to separate norms whose authority is parasitic on external sanctions and those whose validity grounds the punishment consequent on their violation. The power of obligation thus contains both logical and psychological elements. In pre-modern societies the social bases for self-reassurance and self-respect were secured directly through group membership, being one of us, and having one or more socially determined roles to perform.