The Inoperative Community  

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"The gravest and most painful testimony of the modern world, the one that possibly involves all other testimonies to which this epoch must answer (by virtue of some unknown decree or necessity, for we bear witness also to the exhaustion of thinking through History), is the testimony of the dissolution, the dislocation, or the conflagration of community."The Inoperative Community (1982) by Jean-Luc Nancy, incipit

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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La Communauté désœuvrée (The Inoperative Community, 1982) is a book by Jean-Luc Nancy.

It is Nancy’s first book on the question of community, La Communauté désœuvrée (The Inoperative Community, 1982), is perhaps his best-known work. This text is an introduction to some of the main philosophical themes Nancy continued to work with. Nancy traces the influence of the notion of community to concepts of experience, discourse, and the individual, and argues that it has dominated modern thought. Discarding popular notions, Nancy redefines community, asking what can it be if it is reduced neither to a collection of separate individuals, nor to a hypostasized communal substance, e.g., fascism. He writes that our attempt to design society according to pre-planned definitions frequently leads to social violence and political terror, posing the social and political question of how to proceed with the development of society with this knowledge in mind. La Communauté désœuvrée means that community is not the result of a production, be it social, economic or even political (nationalist) production; it is not une œuvre, a "work of art" ("œuvre d'art", but "art" is here understood in the sense of "artifice").

"The community that becomes a single thing (body, mind, fatherland, Leader...) ...necessarily loses the in of being-in-common. Or, it loses the with or the togetherthat defines it. It yields its being-together to a being of togetherness. The truth of community, on the contrary, resides in the retreat of such a being." (Preface, xxxix).

La communauté inavouable (The Unavowable Community, 1988), a short work by Maurice Blanchot, was a response to Nancy’s work on community (and inspired as well by Georges Bataille, whose work on sovereignty is discussed in La communauté désoeuvrée). The dialogue between Nancy and Blanchot would continue until Blanchot's death.

Index

Compiled by Hassan Melehy

Aillaud, Gilles, 126 Alain, 131 Albert the GrHt, St., 110 Althusser, Louis, IS6 ch. I n. 2 Apuleius, 119 Arendt, Hannah, IS6 ch. I n. 2, IS7-S8 n. 16, 160 n. 6 Aristotle, xxxviii, 112 art: and god, 131; and God, 126-27, 129-30 Augustine, Saint, 94, 122; and love, 91, 9S Bailly, Jean-Christophe, 42, 146 Bakouine, Mikhail, 10 Banhes, Roland, 7-8, 164 n. 4 Bataille, Georges, xv-xvi, xxvii, xxviii, 2, 6, 14, IS7 n. 6, 15g nn. 17, 21; and absolute, 4-S; and community, 16-42 passim; and God, 144, 148; and literature, 71: and myth, 47, 58-61 Baudelaire, Charles, 87 Being: and absolute, 6; and community, xxiii, 18. 57-58: finitude of, viii, ix, 28- 29; and freedom, lli-xv; and god, 131- 32; of God, 110-12, 115-16, 122-25; and language, llii; and logos, lL'I-XXi; and Jove, 88-89, 103-S; and singularity, 171 xiii, 28, 77-78. See also Dasein; Heidegger; metaphysics Being and Time (Sein und Zeit), xii, xivxv, xvi, xxiii, 168 n. 22 Benjamin, Waller, xix, 3S, 78, 161 n. 20; and art, 130; and God, 147; and lanauage, xx Bias of Priene, 114 Blanchot, Maurice, xv, xix, xxviii, 3S, 42, 135, JSJ n. 19, IS6 pref. n. I, 160 n. 9: and communism, 7; and community, 58; on death, xvii; and literature, 63, 6S; and work, 31; and writina. 70 Bloch, Ernst, 113 Bossuet, Jacques, 114 Buddhism, 128 Cassirer, Ernst, JS9 n. I Celan, Paul, 147, JSS-S6 n. 44 Cercidas of Meaalopolis, 14S Char, Rene, 87-88 Christianity, 127; and community, 10-11, 17; and God, 128, 133-41; and love, 87, 88. See also reliaion Clastres, Pierre, 57, 160 n. 12 ,·ogito. See Descanes; "I"; subject Coleridge, Samuel Taylor, 49 172 :J INDEX communication: and community, xl, xxvixxvii, 19, 23-24, 2S, 29, 39, 41, 60-61, 73: and literature, 39, 67-68; and myth, SO-SI. See also language; writing communion: and community, IS, 143-44: and literature, 6S-67 communism: and community, 1-3, 7-9, 16- 17, 7S: literary, 26, 39, 64, 68-69, 71-81 community: absence of, 59-60; and Being, xxiii, 18, 57-58; and capital, 74-75; and Christianity, 10-11, 16-17; and communication, xxvi-xxvii, xl, 19, 23- 24, 2S, 29, 39, 41, 60-61, 73; and communion, IS, 143-44; and communism, 1-3, 7-9, 16-17; and Dasein, xv-xvii; and death, xv-xvii, 13- 16, 34, 60-61, 66-67; and dialoaue. 76- 77; and ecstasy, 6-7, 19--21; and fascism, 16-17; and God, 10-11, 142-44; and humanity, 3, 77; and the /, IS; and individual, 3-4, 27; and joy (joito), 34; and language, xxv: and literature, 64- 66, 71-81; and logos, xxii-xxiii; loss of, 9-12, 17-18; and love, xvii-xviii, 36-40; and man, 28; and Marxism, 16; and modernity, 9-12; and music:, 62; and myth, 42, 53-70 ptmim; and Nazism, 12; and passion, 32-33, 34; and the political (le polltique), ix-xi, xxxvi-xli, 40-41; and politics (Ia politique), xxvixxvii; and the sacred, 34-3S; and singularity, 6-7, 27-30, 32-33, 59-61, 73-78; and society, 37; and State, 12; and subject, xi, xiii, 18-19, 23-2S, 31, 32; and totalitarianism, 2-3, 22-23; and totality, 75-76; and voice, 62-63, 76-77; and work, xxxix, 31-32, 72-75, 79; and writing, xxv-xxvi, xxvii-xxix, 41, 42 Daive, Jean, 146 Dasein: and community, xv-xvii; and death, xiv-xv, ni-lwii: and flftdom, xii-xv: and God, 121: and hermeneutics, xxiv; and logos, xxiii; and love, 103-4. See also Being; "I": Heidegger: subject De Rerum Natura (Or! the Nature of Things}. 140 death: and community, xv-xvii, 13-16, 34, 60-61, 66-67: and Dasein, xiv-xv: xvixvii; and God, 121-22, 125-26, 127, 137; and "I," 14: and other, xvi-nii deconstruction: and politics, xi. See also metaphysics Deleuze, Gilles, 106, 156 ch. I n. 2, 157 n. 14, 158 n. 23 Derrida, Jacques, vii, xii, xx, XX\'iii, 24, 101, lOS, 135, 152 n. 4, ISS n. 39, IS7 n. 14, 161-62 n. 27, 163 ch. 3 n. I Descartes, Ren~. vii, 14, 164 n. 2: and God, 133; and love, 86; and subject, 31, 89 ~ienne, Marcel, IS9 n. 4, 160 n. 16, 161 n. 22 Don Juan, 92-93, 100, 101 E~Homo, 149 Eckhart, Meister, 117, 139, 149 ecstasy: and absolute, 6; and community, 6-7, 19-21. See also love Ellul, Jacques, 156 ch. I n. 2 Emerson, Ralph Waldo, 167 n. 17 Empedocles, 86 essence: of God, 144: and logos, xxii Essence of Christianity, The (Das Wesen des Christentums), 140 Euripides, 12S F~nelon, Fran~ois. 94 Feuerbach, ludwig, 168 n. 25 Ficino, Marsilio, 85 fiction: and myth, 53, S4-SS finitude: of Being, viii, ix, 28-29 Flaubert, Gustave, 147 Frank, Manfred, 159 n. I, 161 n. 18 freedom: and Beins, xi-xv: and Dosein, xii-xv: and language, xx: and logos, xxxxi: and subject, xiv, X\' Freud, Sigmund, xv, 14, 29, 33, 87, 159 ch. I n. 35, 159 ch. 2 n. I, 162 n. 33, 168 n. 25; and love, 85, 106; and myth, 45 Futurr of an Illusion, The (Dito Zukunft einer Illusion}, 140 Gadamer, Hans-Georg, xxiv Girard, Rem!, ISS n. 29, 167 n. IS god: and art, 131: and Being, 131-32: and history, 14S; and joy, 142: and man. 132 God: and absolute, 5; and art, 126-27, 129-30; and atheism. 136: being of, INDEX LJ 173 110-12, 115-16, 122-25; and Christianity, 133-41; and community, 10-11, 142-44; and Dasein, 121; and death, xxx-xxxi, xxxiv-xxxv, 10-11, 121- 22, 12S-26, 127, 137; and discourse, 112-14; essence of, 144; existence of, 132-33; and idol, 141-42; and Judaism, Ill; and love, 94, 96; and madness, 149-SO; and man, 128, 139, 147; name of, 116-21, 146-47; and obscenity, 147- 48; and other, 113; and philosophy, 128- 29; and religion, 128-29; and Scripture, 134-3S; and subject, 136-37, 145, 149-SO; and Virgin, 114-IS; and the West, 148 Gospels: and God, 139 Guarani Indians: and myth, 57 Guattari, Felix, 157 n. 14 Habennas, Jil111en, ISS n. 37 Hamacher, Werner, 42 Hegel, G. W. F., viii, ix, xxx, 2, 3, 10, II, IS, 36, 76, 95, 129, 138, lSI n. 4, 158 n. 18, 161 n. 21; and absolute, 5; and community, 9, 142; and god, 132; and God, 110-11, 113, 123, 124, 12S, 126, 127, 133, 139, 149-SO; and love, 40, 85, 86, 87, 88, 90; and religion, 130, 134; and State, 12; and subject, 19, 24, 31, 32, 34, 89-90 Heidegger, Martin, vii, x, xxviii, 6, IS, 18, 22, 28, 3S, S9, 77, 129, 138, IS2 n. S, ISS n. 38, IS8 n. 24, 160 n. II, 162 n. 34, 164 n. I, 16S nn. 7, 9, 168 nn. 22, 24; and death, xvi, 14; and Derrida, xii; and freedom, xi-xv; and God, xxxxxxiv, liS, 122-24; and hermeneutics, xxiii-xxiv; on HOiderlin, xxxi; and language, xx, xxi-xxii, xxh·-xxv, xxixxxx; Levinas on, xix; and logos, xxi; and love, 103-S; and name of God, 118, 120-21; and other, 33 Hellenism: and morals, 138 Henry, Michel, 107 Heraclitus, 86, 134 Herder, Johann Gottfried, 3, 159 n. I hermeneutics: and Dusein, xxiv; and language, xxiii-xxiv Herodotus, 119 history: and god, 145; and literature, 68-69 Hitler, Adolf, 162 n. 40 Holderlin, Friedrich, xv, xxx, xxxi, 10, 32, 129, 145, 160 n. II, 161 nn. 21, 23, 164- 6S n. 4; and God, 122-23, 12S, 149-50; and name of God, 118-19 Hollier, Denis, IS7 n. 10 Homer, 48, 142 Hugo, Victor, 146 humanity: and community, 3, 77; and myth, 45-46, Sl. See also man Husser!, Edmund, 14, 33, 164 n. I Hyperion, 102 "I": and community, IS; and death, 14; and love, 96. See also Dast!in; subject Imagination: and myth, S3, S4-SS individual: and community, 3-4, 27 lnMT Exfll!ril!nce (Expiril!lll:l! interil!urr), 23 interruption: of myth, 43-70 passim, 72 /on, xxiv Islam, 121, 128, 136 John of the Cross, St., 87 John Damascene, St., 116, 117 joy (joie): and community, 34; and god, 142; and love, 36, 39-40, 106-8 Joyce, James, 13S, 146 Judaism, 121, 136, 137-38; and God, Ill, 128, 139; and name of God, 118; and sublime, I 30. See also religion Kafka, Franz, 102 Kant, Immanuel, xiii, xx, 76, 129, 162 n. 33; and art, 130; and imagination, S4; and love, 86; and will, S6 Kerenyi, Karl, IS9 n. I, 160 n. 6 Kierkegaard, Seren, 102 Kleist, Heinrich von, 82, 87 La Rochefoucauld, Fran~ois, 9S Lacan, Jacques, 85, 151 n. 3 Lacoue-Labarthe, Philippe, lSI n. 3, 157 n. 9, 159 n. 3S, 160 n. 6, 161 n. 21, 161 n. 26, 163 n. 10 language: and Being, xii; and community, xxv; and freedom, xx: and metaphysics, vii: and myth, SO: and truth, xix-xx: and writing, xx, xxv, xxix-xxx. See also literature: logo:;; speech Leenhardt, Maurice, 49 Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm, 13, 127 174:::: INDEX lenin, V. 1., 7 Leon the Hebrew, 8S Lescout, Jean-Claude, 146 Levinas, Emmanuel, 129, ISS n. 40, 168 nn. 22, 23; and God, 113, 124, 136; on Heidegger, xix; and love, 104-S; and name of God, 117-18, 120-21 Levi-StrauM, Claude, 4S, 54, 55, 56, 160 nn. 9-10, 161 nn. 18, 25 literature: and communication, 39, 67-68; and communion, 65-67; and community, 64-66, 71-81; and history, 68-69; and myth, 63-66, 69-70, 71-72; and politics, 80-81; and truth, 78-79. See also language; writing logos, xxxviii; and Being, xx-xxi; and community, xxii-xxiii; and Daseln, xxiii; and essence, xxii; and freedom, xx-xxi; and myth, 49-50; and thought, xxi. See also writing; speech love: and Being, 88-89, 103-5; and Christianity, 87, 88; and community, xvii-xviii, 36-40; and Dasein, 103-4; and desire, 98-99: and dialectic, 88-90; and God, 94, 96; and "I," 96; and joy (joie), 36, 39-40, 106-8; and other, xviixviii, 102, 105-7; and philosophy, 85-91, 99-102, 104-5; and poetry, 99-102; and self, 94-95; and singularity, 38-39, 98- 99, 107-8; and State, 37; and subject, xvii-xviii, 89-90, 96-97; and thinking, 82-91, 104: transcendence of, 97-98; and the West, 91-92 lucan, 147 Lucretius, 99 Luther, Martin, 149 lyotard, Jean-Fran~ois, xxv, 36, 156 ch. I n. 2, 162 n. 33 Mailer, Norman, 147 Mallarme, Stephane, 10, 135 man: and community, 28; and god, 132: and God, 128, 139, 147. See also humanity Mandelstam, Osip, 146 Mann, Thomas, 160 n. 6 Maoism, 64 Marion, Jean-luc, 112-13 Marivaux, Pierre Cartel de, 87 Mar", Karl, "· 2, 7, 10, 35, 156 n. 4, 161 n. 19: and community, 74-75, 77: and the political (le politique), """viii Marxism: and community, 16; end of, 121 Maturin, Charles, 87 Mayakovsky, Vladimir, 100 Merleau-Ponty, Maurice, 160 n. 13 metaphysics: of absolute subject, 4: and language, vii. See also Being: philosophy Miller, Henry, 107, 146 Monteverdi, Claudio, 87 morals: and Hellenism, 138 Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus, 92-93 My Mother (Ma m~re), 41 myth: absence of, 58-61; and communication, SO-SI; and community, 42, 53-70 passim: and fiction, 53, 54- 55: and humanity, 45-46, 51; and imagination, 53, 54-SS; and immanentism, 56-57; interruption of, 43-70 passim, 72: and language, SO; and literature, 63-66, 69-70, 71-72: and logos, 49-50; of myth, 48, 52-56; and Nazism, 46; power of, 56-57; and representation, 54, 56; and romanticism, 45; and speech, 49, SO-SI; and subject, 55: and totalitarianism, 56-57; and totalization, 51; and truth, 53-54; and West, 46; and will, 56-57; and writing (kriture), 68-70 name: of God, 116-21, 146-47. See also language; logos Na1jsm: and community, 12; and myth, 46. See also totalitarianism Nietzsche, Friedrich, vii, xv-"vi, xxx, 10, 34, 41, 129, 138, 161 n. 26, 162 nn. 33- 34; and death of God, 125, 127, 133, 146, 149-50; and love, 85, 95, 99: and myth, 45-46; and singularity, 27 Navalis, 129 Origen, 126 other: and death, xvi-"vii: and God, 113; and love, xvii-xviii, 102, 105-7; and self, 33-34. See also subject Parmenides, 86 Pascal, Blaise, 90, 124, 128 INDEX [.; 175 Pasolini, Pier Paolo, xxx, 156 ch. I n. 2 Paul, St., 137-38, 149 Pavese, Cesare, 146, 147 PhenomenoiOtfV of Spirit, The (Die Phiinomenologie des Geistes), 5, 9, 89 philosophy: and God, 128-29; and Jove, 85-91, 99-102, 104-5; and politics (/a politique), viii-xi; and thought, viii. See also Being; metaphysics Plato, xxiv, xxxviii, 49, 56, 138; and joy, 107; and love, 85, 86, 102, 104; and myth, 56 poetry: and love, 99-102 political, the (/e politique), xxxvi-xli; and community, ix-xi, 40-41; and politics (Ia politique), x politics (/a politique): and community, xxvi-xxvii; and deconstruction, xi; and literature, 80-81; and philosophy, viii-xi Pontevia, Jean-Marie, 114-15 Popper, Karl, 122 Pseudo-Dionysius, 117 Pythagoras, 86 Racine, Jean, 87 Ranciere, Jacques, 156 ch. I n. 2 religion: and faith, 140; and God, 128-29 representation: and myth, 54, S6 Ricoeur, Paul, xxiv, 160 n. 7 Rilke, Rainer Maria, 129, 145 romanticism: and myth, 45; and singularity, 27 Rorty, Richard, ISS n. 37 Rousseau, Jean Jacques, 10; and community, 9, 30; and the political (/e politique), xxxviii Ruysbroek, Willem van, 117 Sade, Marquis de, 36; and community, 32 Sartre, Jean Paul, I, 4 Scheler, Max, 104 Schelling, Friedrich, xii, 6, 159 n. I, 161 n. 21; and God, 129; and myth, 49, 53, 54, 55, 56, 68 Schlegel, August, 161 n. 21 Schlegel, Friedrich, 10, 159 n. I, 161 n. 21, 162 n. 39; and myth, 49, 51, 53 Schopenhauer, Arthur, 27; and myth, 56 Scripture: and God, 134-35 Scgalen, Victor, 146 self: and love, 94-95; and other, 33-34; and property, 95. See also "I"; subject Seneca, 112, 126 singularity: and Being, xiii, 28, 77-78; and community, 6-7, 27-30, 32-33, 59-61, 73-78; and love, 38-39, 98-99, 107-8 Socrates, 78, 138; and love, 85 Sollers, Philippe, 167 n. IS Solzhenitsyn, Alexandr, 2 Sovereignty (Souverainete, La), 21, 22, 23 speech: and myth, 49, 50-51. See also language; logos; voice; writing Spinoza, Baruch: and God, 145; and love, 106; and the political (/e politique), xxxviii; and subject, 89; and truth, 53 Stalin, Josef, 7 State: and community, 12; and love, 38 story: community function of, 43-44 Strauss, Johann, 87 Strindberg, August, 87 subject: and community, xi, xiii, 18-19, 23- 25, 31, 32; and freedom, xiv, xv; and God, 136-37, 145, 149-50; and love, xvii-xviii, 89-90, 96-97; metaphysics of, 4; and myth, 55. See also Dasein; "I"; other Symposium, 85, 86, 91 Tetragrammaton. See name, God Thales, 49 Theory of Religion (Theorie de Ia religion), 21 thinking: and love, 82-91, 104. See also philosophy Thomas Aquinas, St., 116, 149 thought: and logos, xxi; and philosophy, viii totalitarianism: and community, 2-3, 22-23; and myth, 56-57 Trotsky, Leon, 7 truth: and language, xix-xx; and literature, 78-79; and myth, 53-54 Twombly, Cy, 145 Unavowable Community, The (La Communaute inai>Ouab/e), xvii, 42, 156 pref. n. I Usener, Hermann, 127 Valery, Paul, 141; and love, 98, 108 176 C INDEX Verlaine, Paul, 16S n. 6 Vemant, Jean-Pierre, 160 n. 8 Vico, Giambanista, 49 Vogel, Henriene, 82 voice: and communily, 62-63, 76-77. See olso communicalion; speech Wagner, Richard, 10, 87, IS9 n. I. 160 n. 6, 161 n. 18 West, the: and God, 148: and love, 91-92: and myth, 46 Wiesel, Elie, 91 Wingmstein, ludwig, 129 work: and community, xxxix, 31-32, 72-7S, 79 writing (kriturr): and book, 13S: and community, xxv-xxvi, xxvii-xxix, 41, 42; divine, xxix-xxxv: and language, xx. xxv, xxix-xxx; and myth, 68-70. See olso literature; speech Zinoviev, Alexandr, 2

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