It is now commonplace to stress that we are living in an era of significant change: a turning point in history, a time of transition and radical social change; the end of industrial society and the promises of the Enlightenment (Touraine 1984, 1989), the beginnings of a digital age; and perhaps the ‘end of history’ as the West has envisioned it (Fukuyama 1989). Important dimensions of this change involve the rapid production and dissemination of scientific knowledge and technology, cultural styles and modes of communication, the restructuring of work, industry, markets and economic life, and the fragmentation and reorganisation of power domains leading to the emergence of new social and political identities.