For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

The Inoperative Community

by Nancy, Jean-Luc (1991)

Key Passage

It is here, in this suspension, that the communion less communism of singular beings takes place. Here takes place the taking  place (which is itself without a  place. without a  space reserved for or devoted to its  presence) of community: not in a work that would  bring it to completion even less in itself as  work (family, people, church. nation, party, literature,  philosophy).  but in the  unworking and as the unworking of all its works. There is the unworking of the  works of individuals in the  community ("writers," whatever  their mode of writing might be), and there is the unworking of works that the community as such  produces: its peoples, its towns, its treasures, its  patrimonies, its traditions, its  capital, and its collective property of knowledge and production.  These are the same unworking:  the work in the community and work of the community (each, moreover,  belongs to the  other, since either one can be reappropriated  or unworked  in the other)  do not have their truth in the completion of their operation, nor in the substance and unity of their opus. What is exposed in the work, or through the works, begins and ends infinitely within and beyond the work-within and beyond the operative concentration of the work: there where what we have called up to now men, gods, and animals are themselves exposed to one another through an exposition that lies at the heart of the work and that gives us  the  work at the same time as it dissolves its concentration, and through which the work is offered up to the infinite communication of community. (p.72)


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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