One of the assumptions that much social science has in common with the ‘everyday thinking’ of ‘common sense’ or ‘common knowledge’ is a radical distinction between the individual and the collective.1 This means that collective identity and individual identity are typically understood as different kinds of phenomena, and the relationships between unique individuality and shared collectivity tend to be unexamined or treated as axiomatic. Much otherwise sophisticated sociological argument, for example, offers a ‘black box’ where there should be an attempt to understand identification processes. Even social psychology – such as ‘social identity theory’ (e.g. Hogg and Abrams 1988; Robinson 1996) or ‘discourse theory’ (e.g. Antaki and Widdicombe 1998; Potter 1996; Potter and Wetherell 1987) – which does look at process, typically focuses on individuals, treats ‘personal’ identification and ‘social’ identification as different psychological conditions or constructs, and understands groups in a coarse-grained and reified fashion. Something important is still taken for granted, something important still missed.