Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Dr. Barry Allen
This thesis is concerned with the concept of community in the thought of three French postmodern philosophers-Georges Bataille, Maurice Blanchot and Jean-Luc Nancy. I contend that anarchism is the best framework for understanding them because they emphasize the importance of community outside of the organization of the state. On their view, community as a unity or totality of social relations is absent in contemporary life, but this is as it should be because it makes possible the emergence of communities that are not premised on unity or totality but difference and openess. Bataille thinks that community requires an experience of soverignty that is sacred rather than political, and that is it available through myth. Blanchot considers community in terms of the inherent neutrality of relations which cannot be co-opted by political interests. Nancy has an ontological orientation to politics that interprets existence as a community and results in a global law of multiple networks. All three stress the interplay between freedom and order, and seek a heightened sense of responsibility in community. Yet they do not acknowledge that community requires lasting institutions, and despite their attack on totalitarianism, they do not advocate democracy. Their work powerfully questions the concept of community, but it ultimately fails to offer viable alternatives for contemporary political philosophy
Kiefte, Barend, "The Anarchist Concept of Community in the Thought of Bataille, Blanchot and Nancy" (2002). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 884.