Community and Nihilism


  • Roberto Esposito Istituto Italiano di Scienze Umane (SUM), Naples


Bataille, Community, Heidegger, Hobbes, Nancy, Nihilism, Nothing, Rousseau, Totalitarianism


Developing the arguments put forward in books such as Communitas, in this article the political  philosopher Roberto Esposito tries to overcome the customary opposition between the notions of community and nihilism. His aim is to rethink what community might mean in an age of ‘completed nihilism'. In a subtle genealogical and etymological analysis of the concept of community, he demonstrates how, rather than establishing a substantial and positive bond, community is constituted by nothingness, by a shared lack”which communal, communitarian and totalitarian politics seek to deny. The excavation of the meaning of communitas allows Esposito to critically examine the manner in which the thinking of community has been expunged by modern political philosophy.




How to Cite

Esposito, R. (2009). Community and Nihilism. Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, 5(1), 24–36. Retrieved from