Having understood that collectivities are more than the sum of their embodied parts, Durkheim, following Comte and Spencer, made an error in adopting an organic analogy in order to understand and communicate this: collectivity – ‘society’ – modelled as a corporeal entity, a ‘living thing’ with firm boundaries, complex functional internal relationships, and higher and lower systems. In this, he was adopting an essentially common-sensical symbolisation of collective identity. Margaret Thatcher, approaching the same issue, made what is arguably a worse mistake, however, in declaring that there is no such thing as ‘society’, other than ‘you and me and our nextdoor-neighbour and everyone we know in our town’ (Raban 1989: 29-30).