Individualization argues that we are in the midst of a fundamental change in the nature of society and politics. This change hinges around two processes: globalization and individualization. The book demonstrates that individualization is a structural characteristic of highly differentiated societies, and does not imperil social cohesion, but actually makes it possible. Ulrich Beck and Elisabeth Beck-Gernsheim argue that it is vital to distinguish between the neo-liberal idea of the free-market individual and the concept of individualization. The result is the most complete discussion of individualization currently available, showing how individualization relates to basic social rights and also paid employment; and concluding that in as much as basic rights are internalized and everyone wants to or must be economically active, the spiral of individualization destroys the given foundations of social co-existence.