On an obligatory nothing situating the political in post-metaphysical community

Angelaki 18 (3):139-154 (2013)

Abstract
This essay contends that while Nancy and Esposito have strikingly similar concepts of the place of the political in post-metaphysical community, their respective articulations of these concepts noticeably diverge. Because of his commitment to excavating the political project of immunity as central to the Western political tradition in and through the category of the legal person, Esposito announces community as impolitical, as the interruptive spacing, and thus alternating displacement, of the political conceived as the site of emancipatory agency. In contrast, in the work of Agamben and in the recent work of Nancy, an articulation of the person and the political in more agential terms can be found. This divergence presents interpretive difficulties insofar as Esposito's discussion of community as impolitical could be read as advancing ontological neutrality or passivity that threatens to separate political activity from its liberating potential. I argue that such ontological neutrality is a product of Esposito's confrontation with the political as dominated by both the logic of immunity and an engagement with the complex legacy of Heidegger's problematic political trajectory. To this extent it is an open question whether Esposito's project leaves room for a new vision of the political and for political agency.
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DOI 10.1080/0969725X.2013.834671
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