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Improper communities in the work of Roberto Esposito and Jacques Rancière

Inston, K; (2019) Improper communities in the work of Roberto Esposito and Jacques Rancière. Contemporary Political Theory 10.1057/s41296-019-00369-1. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Recent theories of community (Nancy, Agamben, Esposito) aim to think the term beyond its definition as the ownership of shared identity, language, culture or territory. For Esposito, to reduce community to a property whose possession distinguishes members from non-members undermines the commonality the term implies. The common opposes what is proper or one’s own; it belongs to no one and everyone. Rather than securing identity and belonging, community, defined by its impropriety, disrupts them so that we are in common. While his work successfully illustrates the incompatibility of the common and the proper, it leaves unanswered the question of how communities come to experience their impropriety. Through a comparison with Rancière’s improper community, we can identify and gesture beyond this limit. Its members intervene in proper communities by exercising the right to decide on common matters despite officially having no right to do so. Their actions, by demonstrating the openness of the common to anyone and everyone, turn its privatisation into a shared wrong that connects community with non-community. By supplementing Esposito’s work with Rancière’s, we see how communities relate to what they have deemed improper in a way that both challenges and revitalises their sense of commonality.

Type: Article
Title: Improper communities in the work of Roberto Esposito and Jacques Rancière
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1057/s41296-019-00369-1
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1057/s41296-019-00369-1
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > SELCS
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10104882
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