Interest at stake: a non-substantial reading of community

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Talking about community is becoming more and more dangerous, and the reason for this danger is quite simple: the concept of community seems to resonate with the post-political warning emerging from ourtimes (Ziziek, 2003). In a post-political perspective, a community is an assemble of individuals who share – more or less explicitly and overtly – a so called “commonality” which can be variously stated: a place, a purpose, a cultural feature, a context, a practice. Thanks to this commonality we can find a certain degree of homogeneity among those individuals, and thanks to this homogeneity we can find a certain degree of compliance through which we can define, or even predict, their actions. What we lose in this frame is the political dimension of community as «the unavoidable challenge of negotiating a here-and-now» (Massey 2014: 140), washed away and reduced to a mere contractual dispute on supply services and management. The (non-obvious) happy end is widely known: government becomes governance, politics becomes administration, class struggle becomes a neighbours’ scuffle and, consequently, the space of resistance leaves room for the end of history to unfold (Fukuyama, 2003). The underlying utopia is the emergence of self-regulating subjects who are able to recognize, despite their different interests and needs, the best of all possible worlds: a world where efficiency is simply more advisable. Following this path, it is worth to wonder how we can regain a proper political dimension of the concept of community.
Book of proceedings: Annual AESOP Congress, Spaces of Dialog for Places of Dignity, Lisbon, 11-14th July, 2017
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