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Communitas: The Origin and Destiny of Community (Cultural Memory in the Present)by Roberto Esposito
Synopses & Reviews
No theme has been more central to international philosophical debates than that of community: from American communitarianism to Habermas's ethic of communication to the French deconstruction of community in the work of Derrida and Nancy. Nevertheless, in none of these cases has the concept been examined from the perspective of community's original etymological meaning: cum munus. In Communitas: The Origin and Destiny of Community, Roberto Esposito does just that through an original counter-history of political philosophy that takes up not only readings of community by Hobbes, Rousseau, Kant, Heidegger and Bataille, but also by Hölderlin, Nietzsche, Canetti, Arendt, and Sartre. The result of his extraordinary conceptual and lexical analysis is a radical overturning of contemporary interpretations of community. Community isn't a property, nor is it a territory to be separated and defended against those who do not belong to it. Rather, it is a void, a debt, a gift to the other that also reminds us of our constitutive alterity with respect to ourselves.
Book News Annotation:
Esposito (contemporary philosophy, Italian Institute for the Human Sciences, Naples) explores the treatment--mistreatment, or lack of treatment at best, he might say--of community by philosophy in the Christian West. In chapters on nothing in common, fear, guilt, law, ecstasy, and experience, he reflects on the work of Rousseau, Kant, Heidegger, Hobbes, Augustine, and other thinkers. An appendix considers nihilism and community. Communitas: Origine e destrino communitá was published by Giulo Einandi Editore in 1998 and 2006. No index is provided. Annotation Â©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Roberto Esposito, a leading Italian philosopher, deconstructs the notion of community by examining its etymological roots in the Latin munus, or gift, and then reads against classical political interpretations of community.
About the Author
Roberto Esposito teaches contemporary philosophy at the Italian Institute for the Human Sciences in Naples. His Bíos: Biopolitics and Philosophy (2008) has also been translated into English.
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