Jean-Luc Nancy: A Negative Politics?

Philosophy and Social Criticism 32 (1):89-109 (2006)
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Taking his critique of totalitarianizing conceptions of community as a starting point, this text examines Jean-Luc Nancy's work of an ‘ontology of plural singular being’ for its political implications. It argues that while at first this ontology seems to advocate a negative or an anti-politics only, it can also be read as a ‘theory of communicative praxis’ that suggests a certain ethos – in the form of a certain use of symbols that would render the ontological plurality of singulars perceptible and practically effective. Finally, some recent texts by Nancy even sidestep the ontology of being-with and face the question of what politics, faced with demands of justice, could be and what a democratic politics could provide. Both of these aspects in Nancy's work, however, still remain to be spelled out more politically
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