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Terms of the PoliticalCommunity, Immunity, Biopolitics$
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Roberto Esposito

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780823242641

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823242641.001.0001

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Immunitary Democracy

Immunitary Democracy

Chapter:
(p.37) Immunitary Democracy
Source:
Terms of the Political
Author(s):
Roberto Esposito
Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823242641.003.0004

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

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