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Theories of Community in Habermas, Nancy and Agamben: A Critical Evaluation
Philosophy Compass (2009)
  • Brian Elliott, Portland State University
Continental philosophy over the past two decades has increasingly turned its attention to social and political matters. Two key figures involved in this move, Jean-Luc Nancy and Giorgio Agamben, have advanced a position centering on the idea of singular community. This article sets out the basic features of this idea and contrasts it with Habermas’ theory of communicative or dialogical community. Habermas is open to the criticism that his theory of community is constructed according to an unduly narrow construal of legitimate argumentation and democratic participation. The idea of community advanced by Nancy and Agamben, in contrast, appears to lack any credible criteria of community inclusion or identity. In conclusion, it is suggested that both theories of community fall short by neglecting the task of constructing and preserving actual sites of collective democratic action and resistance.

*At the time of publication Brian Elliott was affiliated with the University College Dublin
Publication Date
November, 2009
Publisher Statement
© 2009 The Author. Journal Compilation © 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Citation Information
Brian Elliott. "Theories of Community in Habermas, Nancy and Agamben: A Critical Evaluation" Philosophy Compass Vol. 4 Iss. 6 (2009) p. 893 - 903
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