Immunitary Democracy

in Terms of the Political

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780823242641
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780823242689 | DOI:
Immunitary Democracy

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Chapter 3 takes up the relationship between the terms community and democracy, and asks whether an understanding of the etymological kinship of community and immunity (the Latin munus, meaning law, duty, or gift) can shed light on contemporary debates about democracy–a light which would be obscured were we to compare democracy to other definitions of community as, for example, a formation that is imposed from the outside by “society” or “individuals.” This chapter argues that modern democracy speaks a language that is opposed to that of community insofar as it always has introjected into it an immunitary imperative. Only by reversing the operation, by rethinking community beginning by completing the operation of immunization, that is, by eliminating the very notions of outside and inside through immunization, will we be able to rescue community from the negative immunitary drift toward which it seems destined to slide.

Keywords: Immunization; Democracy; Community; Society; Immunitas; Communitas; Munus; Proper; Improper; Technology; Globalization; Power; Ontology

Chapter.  4278 words. 

Subjects: Social and Political Philosophy

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