The concept of community is one heavily burdened by the events of
the 20th century, frequently appropriated by totalitarian regimes
for the purposes of exclusion and oppression. In this dialogue with
Peter Engelmann, philosopher Jean-Luc Nancy attempts to free the
concept from these associations, rethinking it in such a way that
it can serve as a valuable starting point for a new reflection on
democracy. Throughout his work Nancy has advocated a fundamental
reconceptualization of politics, centred on the idea of community.
He starts from the observation that all our interactions with one
another are in some way shared experiences, demonstrating that a
common sense of life precedes our existence as individuals. This
means that we can only truly make sense of life in a plurality.
Though democracy is typically concerned with establishing political
unity, its greater task should therefore lie in community: creating
a space in which sense can realise itself and circulate. This
stimulating conversation with one of France's foremost thinkers
will be of great interest to all readers of contemporary philosophy
and political theory.
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