A mêlée without Sacrifice: Nancy's Ontology of Offering against Derrida's Politics of Sacrifice

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  • In this paper I want to explore a certain community of writing, namely the one between Jacques Derrida and Jean-Luc Nancy. The on-going dialogue between the two on the subject of community has left in their writings only traces (with the exception of the first essay in Derrida’s Voyous): implicit allusions or short references to be found mainly in footnotes. Those allusions turn mainly around the question of fraternity. Derrida claims that it is necessary to deconstruct the concept of community, to severe it from its genealogical ties. It is, according to Derrida, such a deconstruction of the concept of community that is missing in Nancy’s work and that might still lead his thinking in the direction of a certain fraternity.1 Nancy, on his part, answers that he agrees with Derrida’s critique of community as fraternity but that he already thinks beyond it and reproaches Derrida for not getting at a deconstructed concept of community which could be used to think our being-with anew. Given the double movement of deconstruction (reversal and displacement), one could explain the “dialogue” as follows: while Derrida claims that Nancy skips the first phase (that he uses an old concept to name something new without analyzing the genealogical ties of that concept), Nancy claims that Derrida remains stuck in the first phase (that he does not sketch a new, displaced concept – as he did for example with “writing”). Because the two movements are necessary for a full deconstruction of a concept, it is my view that one can read Derrida and Nancy together, with one another in the strong sense of the term, as two sides of the same discourse.

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    © 2006 M.-E. Morin et al. This version of this article is open access and can be downloaded and shared. The original author(s) and source must be cited.
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    • Morin, M.-E. (2006). A mêlée without Sacrifice: Nancy's Ontology of Offering against Derrida's Politics of Sacrifice. Philosophy Today, 50(Supplement), 139-143.
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