Angelaki 18 (3):103-118 (2013)

This paper analyzes the varying conceptions of ethics underpinning the accounts of community in Blanchot, Nancy, and Esposito. A focus on ethics brings into relief points of divergence amongst accounts of community that otherwise overlap and share in many significant ways. Furthermore, it provides a basis to better assess Esposito's contribution. I focus on the concepts of difference and transcendence and the figure of the lovers, a shared topos in Nancy and Blanchot, to demonstrate these subtle variations. In turning to Esposito, Kantian-inflected notions of duty, obligation, and law shape a community where others recede into the background and the lovers lose their visibility. I suggest that Esposito's focus on duty has consequences that give cause for further reflection. The law renders each of us other, but in its universality it risks losing a sense of the exceptional. Relying etymologically on the notion of duty as that which, following his reading of Kant, undermines the subject and renders possible the impossible community, grounds the Communitas in a law that risks congealing the meaning of community around this impossible obligation.
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DOI 10.1080/0969725X.2013.834668
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References found in this work BETA

Totality and Infinity.Emmanuel Levinas - 1961/1969 - Pittsburgh: Duquesne University Press.
The Coming Community.Giorgio Agamben - 1993 - U of Minnesota Press.

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