For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

The Inoperative Community

by Nancy, Jean-Luc (1991)

Key Passage

Absence of community represents that which does not fulfil community or community itself  inasmuch as it cannot be fulfilled or engendered as ~ new individual. In this  sense, " the appurtenance of every possible community to what I call ... absence of community must  be the ground of any possible community." In the absence of community neither the work of community,  nor the community as work,  nor communism can fulfil itself; rather, the passion of and for community propagates itself, unworked, appealing, demanding to pass  beyond every limit and every fulfilment enclosed in the form of an individual. It is thus not an absence, but a movement, it is unworking in its singular "activity," it is  the propagation, even the contagion, or  again the communication of community itself that propagates itself  or communicates its contagion by its very  interruption. This  contagion interrupts fusion and suspends  communion. and this arrest or rupture once again leads back to the communication of community. Instead of closing it in, this interruption once again exposes  singularity to its  limit, which is  to say, to other singularities. Instead of fulfilling  itself in a work of death and in the immanence of a  subject, community communicates itself through the repetitio n  and the  contagion of birth s: each birth exposes  another singularity.  a supplementary limit,  and therefore another communication.  This is not the opposite of death, for the  death of this singular being  who has just been  born is  also inscribed and communicated  by its limit. It is  already  exposed to its  death, and it exposes us  to it as well. Which  means, essentially, that this  death as well as  this birth are removed from us, are neither our work nor  the work of the collectivity.  (p.60)


Philosophy, Community, Mythology, Communism, Literature, Love, Divinity, Individuality, Communication


The Inoperative Community, Nancy Citations

Links to Reference


Connor, P.; Garbus, L.; Holland, M.; Sawhney, S.



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