For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

The Creation of the World, Or, Globalization

by Nancy, Jean-Luc (2007)


Appearing in English for the first time, Jean-Luc Nancy’s 2002 book reflects on globalization and its impact on our being-in-the-world. Developing a contrast in the French language between two terms that are usually synonymous, or that are used interchangeably, namely globalisation (globalization) and mondialisation (world-forming), Nancy undertakes a rethinking of what “world-forming” might mean. At stake in this distinction is for him nothing less than two possible destinies of our humanity, and of our time. On the one hand, with globalization, there is the uniformity produced by a global economical and technological logic leading to the contrary of an inhabitable world, “the un-world” (l’im-monde)—as Nancy refers to it—an un-world that entails social disintegration, misery, and injustice. And, on the other hand, there is the possibility of an authentic world-forming, that is, of a making of the world and of a making sense that Nancy calls a “creation” of the world. Nancy understands such world-forming in terms of an inexhaustible struggle for justice. This book is an important contribution by Nancy to a philosophical reflection on the phenomenon of globalization and a further development on his earlier works on our being-in-common, justice, and a-theological existence.

Key Passage

In excess or in deficiency with respect to its work does not mean outside of all labor, but means a labor whose principle is not determined by a  goal of mastery (domination, usefulness, appropriation), but exceeds all submission to an end-that is, also exposes itself to remaining without end. Here it is art that indicates the stakes: the work of art is always also a  meaning at work beyond the work […], as well as a  work working and opening beyond any meaning that is either given or to be given. But the opening with-out finality is never a work nor any product: it is the enjoyment of which Marx spoke, as enjoyment by human beings of what opens their humanity beyond all humanism. (This work is not without labor, any more than this enjoyment is without suffering.) (p.54)


Tecnology, Nancy, Continental Philosophy, Globalisation, Economics, Mondialisation


The Creation of the World, Nancy Citations

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