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

One could also consider--and I  cannot dwell on it as would be necessary - the possibility. indeed the necessity of determining the history of technologies up to our time without giving it  another meaning in its fundamental contingency than the indefinite relation of technology to itself and to the escape of its denaturation. One would have to examine, in this respect. the succession of technologies of the immediate supplementation of the human body (tools, arms. clothing), of the production of subsistence (agriculture, animal husbandry). of exchange (money, writing). then. with another turn, of meaning and truth (sophistical, philosophical), of wealth as such, of production itself (capital, labor), of society (democracy) and finally, of nature itself, or of its complete denaturation, whether by mutation or by total destruction (biological. ecological. ethological engineering) . But what would then give the tone and the direction of this series, its principle and its end, nonetheless without principle or end. would be the "architechnology." the pro-duction of the producer. or the ex-position of the exposed, the "nature" of man as the denaturation in him of the whole of "nature," what we call today the "symbolic:' in other words the opening of an empty space where the infinite "creation" of the world is (re)played-unless the possibility arises that the symbolic is barred there and disappears there and with it humanity itself. (p.89)


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


The Creation of the World, Nancy Citations

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