Jean-Luc Nancy - The Inoperative Community

download

of 111

  • date post

    04-Dec-2014
  • Category

    Documents
  • view

    105
  • download

    1

Embed Size (px)

transcript

TheoryandHisioryofLileralure Ediledby\vladGodzichandJochenSchulle.Sasst Volume76. Volume75. Volume74. Volume73. Volume72. Volume71. VolumeVolume68. Volume66. Volume64. Volume63. Volume62. Volume61. Volume60. Volume59. Volume58. Volume57. Volume56. Volume55. Volume54. Volume53. Volume52. Volume5 I. Volume50. Volume49. Volume48. Volume47. Volume46. Jean lucNancyTheInoperatil'{!Community ReyChowWomanandChineseModernity:ThePoliticsof ReadingbetweenWestandEast PaulJ .ThibaullSocialSemioticsasPraxis HeleneCixousReadingwithClariceLispector N.S.TrubelzkoyWritingsonLiterature NeillarsenModernismandHegemony PaulZumlhorOralPoetry:An Introduction HansRobertJaussQuestionand Ans wer: Formsof Dialogic Understanding PauldeManCriticalWritings,1953- 1978 DidierCosteNarrOliveasCommunication RenalOBarilliRhetoric DanielCOHomTex/andCulture TheodorW.AdornoKierkegaard:Constructionofthe Aesthetic Kri sli nRossTheEmergenceof SocialSpace:Rimbaud and theParisCommune LindsayWalersandWladGodzichReading de ManReading F.w.J.SchellingThePhilosophyof Art l oui sMarinPortraitof theKing PelerSIOlerdijkThinker onStage:NietlSche'sMaterialism PaulSmilhDiscerningtheSubject RedaBensma'iaTheBarthesEf fect EdmondCrosTheoryandPracticeof Sociocriticism PhilippeLejeuneOnAutobiography Thierry deDuve Pictorial Nominalism: On Marcel Duchamp's Passage f romPaiming10theReadymade LuizCoslaLimaControlof theImaginary FredericJamesonTheIdeologiesof Theory:Essays1971-1986,Volume2 FredericJamesonTheIdeologiesofTheory:Essays1971-1986.VollimeI EugeneVanceFromTopictoTale:Logicand Narrati vityin theMiddleAges LyolardTheDifferend Forotherbooksilltheseries.seep.177. TheInoperative Community Jean-LucNancy EditedbyPeterConnor TranslatedbyPeterConnor,LisaGarbus, MichaelHolland,andSimonaSawhney ForewordbyChristopherFynsk TheoryandHistoryofLiterature,Volume76 \ UniversityofMinnesotaPress.MinneapolisandOxford CopyrightC>1991bytheRegeTIlSof the:UniversityofMinnesota ChaptersI.2.and3 origi naLL yappearaiinLarommunaufl dtsoeu"rIr, copyright]986byChristian8ourgoisEditeur.Paris;chapter" as " L.aTIIOlJreneclats,"inAlia.copyrightCl1986byParis:chapter$ as"Deslieu)!divins,"in queDieu?Philosophie/ TMologie. HomrnQge0l'aW DanielCoppietersdeGibsOf/(1919-1981).copyrightC>198$byPublicationsdesFacullbUniversitairesSaint-L.ouis,Brussels:the presentEnglishtranslationof "Deslieuxdivins"firstappearedin Paragraph:AJournalo/the ModernCrilkalTheoryGroIlP,\'01. 7 (March1986). Allri,hlSresen'td.Nopartofthispublicationmaybereproduced.stored inaretrievalsystem.orIransmined.inanyformorbyanymeans. eLCC1ronic.mtthanieal.photocopying.recording.or otherwise.wi t houtthe prior...-rittenperminionof thepublisher. PublishedbytheUniversi tyofMinllCsotaPress 2037Uni..-ersityAvenueSoutheast.Minneapolis,MNH414 PrintedinIncUni tedStates of Americaonacid-freepaper Nancy.Jean-L. uc. dtsccuvrh.Englishl Theinoperat ivecommuni t yI.lean-L. ucNancy. p.em.- (Theoryandhistoryof literature;v.76) Translationof :Lacommunautfdtsccuvrh. Incl udesindex. ISBN08166 1923 9.- ISBN 0-8166- 1924-7(pbk.) I.Community.2.l'oLiticalparticipat ion.I. Title. I I.Serle!. IiM131.NBlJ1990 J07-dc20 9().'''''" CI . ACIPcatalogr('CordforchisbookisuailablefromtheBritishLibrary. TheUniversi tyofMinnesota isanequal-opportunity educatorandemployer. Contents Foreword:ExperiencesofFinitudeChrisLOpherFYflskvii2 t 'If Prefacexxxvi I. TheInoperativeCommuni ty -'2.MythInterrupl ed43 3." LiteraryCommunism"71 4.$halleredLove82 5.OfDivinePlaces110 Notes151 Index171 Foreword ExperiencesofFinitude ChristopherFynsk AfullintroductiontoJean-LucNancy'sphilosophicalworkwouldrequire trealmentof thc practice of readingthathe haspursuedin carryingforward thetaskof deconstruclingthehi storyofmetaphysics.Nancyhasdevoted extensivestudytothcmajortextsofmodernphilosophy,fromDescanes throughNiet zsche. because he follows Heidegger inassuming that any erfor! tothinkthepresent(theadventofatimethatcannolongerbethought wit hanyleleologicalorfundamentalschema)presupposesalucidunder-standingofphilosophy'sclosure.Heideggerarguedthattraci ngthelimit formedby the end ofmetaphysics ent ai ls repeatingthemovementsby which phi losophyexhausteditspossibilities-this.inordertoreleasewhatphi-losophyhascloseduponinit sefforttosecureanideal orderofmeaning. Nancy(withothers:thecommunit ytowhichJacQuesDerridarefersinthe openingpagesof" ViolenceandMetaphysics" )'hasrecognizedthatthis taskofrepetitionisfarfromcompl ete,thatinprincipleitcannotbe completed,andthatitrequiresrepet itioninitsturn.Heideggermadeit clearthatwecannotsimpl yhavedonewithphilosophy:ourlanguage "emainsthelanguageofmetaphysics.Healsoshowedsomeofthepossi bili tiesthatli einthinkingtheclosureofmetaphysics(asNancyreminds us.abordermarksaninsideandanoutside).Butherestrictedandeven foreclosedthosepossibilitiesinhisturn,aswe seemost dramaticall yinhis polit icalstatements.ByrepeatingHeidegger'staskof deconstructingmeta-physicsin close readingsof some of themajor texts of thetradi tion.Nancy also deconstructsHcidcgger andworks towardanewthought of difference. vii _iiiuFOREWORD MuchofNancy'sworkhasthustakenthefor mofcommentary,and continuestodoso(asinthecaseof hi s essayontheHegelianButoverthepasttenyears,Nancyhasalsosoughttodepartfromthis mode andtopursue inamoreindependentfas hi onthenotion of difference towhichhi sworkhaspointed.Hehasauempt edtoabandonthecom. ment ator'sposition of relativesafety andto elaborate athoughtthatwould answertothefactthatmanyoftheconcernstowhichfundamentalphi. losophy was addressedcontinuetospeak toustodayintheformof imper. at ives(freedom,justice,communit y),eventhoughtheconceptualsystems fromwhichtheseideashavedrawnthei rmeaningarenolongerviable. Nancyhaspursuedaggressivelythenotionthattheendofphilosophyis notthe endof thought.Indeed,inhi s viewtheendof philosophy demands thought,andheiswi ll ingtoretainthenameofphilosophytodesignate theeffort10answer10theseobscureimperat ives. Nancyhasthusreturned10asctof themesIhalstillformthemainslays ofpoliticalandethicalthoughtbutthatarcrarel ytakenuptodayas qllesTi ons (andarcthus largel y abandonedtotraditionalphilosophical com. mentary:theendlessJ:eension. of philosophy'spastpositionsorpointsof view).Hehas donesofromthebasis of a,hOllghl ofhi story,aconception of the eventof philosophy's end(the collapseof allfoundational discourses andtheadventofmOdernit yorpostmodernity)andofthe"event ual " characterofhi storyit self.Proceedingfromanot ionofthefinitudeof Being-itsessenti aldifferencefromitself,orit shistoricity-Nancyhas soughttorethinkour experience of hi story,or whatI might callthe passions of historicall y defi nedexistence:amongthem,freedom,love,communit y, andreligion(thelastthreeformthepointsoffocusinthisvolume).He hasbegun10 elaborateinthis manner amostsevere, thoughalso liberating, thoughtoffi nitude. My aimherewillbetosket chthebasiclinesof thisthoughtandsome ofthequestionsitraises,wit hparticularreferencetotheessayscontained inthisvolume.I willneglectinthis mannermany of Nancy's contribut ions tophilosophicalresearch(workthatisfreq uentl yatthemarginsofphi losophy,atit sintersectionswithliterarytheory,psychoanalysis.andpolit. icaldiscourse),trustingthattheincreasingavailabilit yofthismaterialin Engli sh lessens the needforanintroductory overview.J Butbefore approach. ingwhatNancydescribesasthe"singularit y"ofBei ng-itssi ngul arity impl yingitsmultiplici ty,andthusadifferentialstructurethatformswhat Nancycall sthe"politicalspace,"andthesiteof cornmunit y-Iwouldlike topursuealiulefurtherthesingularcharacterofNancy'sownwork.For thegestureof thoughtthatani matestheworkuponwhichIamfocusing hereconstitut esitstruenovelt yandevenit sdecisiveimporlanceforcon temporary crit icalandphilosophicalthought. I' OREWQRDi...J Ihavealludedtothebasictraitsof thisgesture:itconsistsinreturning tothemesthatplay acruci alroleinalldiscoursesconcernedwithpolitics or thegroundsof social existencebutthathavebecomeabst ract - theprey ofideology-byvi rtueofthefactthatthephilosophicalpresuppositions defi ning their meani ng (Nancywillspeak of themetaphysicsof subjectivity, referringtherebytothephilosophicalunderpi nningsofhumani sm)have succumbedto thenihilismthatinhabi tsthem.Apolitical imperat ivewhose groundsarenecessarilyobscureneverthelessdictatesthatthemessuchas "freedom"and"communit y"berethought.Thesethemes stillspeaktous insomesense;evenifpoliticaldi scourseshaveprovenunabl etogivethem ameani ngthatholdsforasocialpracticedevotedto sociopoli ticalneeds, wefindoursel vesunabl etodowit houtthem,evenhaunt edbythemin somesense.Nancy'sgestureistoconfrontthedistressgeneratedbythe haunting abstraction of suchterms bypushing themtoward limits he defines withhi sunderstandingoftheclosureofmetaphysicsandofwhatthis closure reveals:thefinitudeof Being.He does this atan astoni shing speed, asthoughallof thetraditi onalthemeswerecrowdingintohisthoughland demandi ngreconsideration.Andhedoesituntiringl y-heexhauststhe termsuponwhichhefocusesandtheconcept ualstructuresinwhichthey arc embedded. Thereis no piety here,and nothing esoteric (however difficult thethoughtmi ghtbe):Nancy'sisahands-onapproachthatconstructs precariousconceptualformulasonlytoturntheminsideoutinanunre-lent ingefforttoexposethei rlimit soncemore.Heisalaborerofthe concept, carrying to excess whatHegeldescribed as the labor oj Ihe concept. Andthismeansthathedoesnotshyfromri sksofredundancyoreven outrightcontradicti on- heisai mingforthechallC:eexposureofalimit . Gracewil l comeinasuddenturnof thephraseatmomentsof inspiration oratmomentsof fatigue(theconcept'sfatigue,nothi s).Buthedoesnot pausetosearchforit;itcomesfrequentl y enough,andtheimperativeto whichheisansweringurgeshimon. Oneshouldneit herneglectnorgiveintothetcnsioncreatedbythis conceptual work(atension experiencedsharpl y by any translator of Nancy's work).ThereisnolanguageforwhatNancyistryi ng10thinkthatdoes notatsomepointinhibitthisthought.reinscribeinittheclassicalcon ceptualsystemsNancyistryi ngtoworkpast.Thetensionkeepsusfrom tooeasil yuponthef