On this side and that of the gaping hole of the world, hollowed out in the name of ‘globalisation’, it is indeed the community which is separated from and confronted with itself. In times past, communities were able to think of themselves as distinct and autonomous without seeking their assumption in a generic humanity. But once the world completes the task of becoming global and once man completes the task of becoming human (it is in this sense, too, that he becomes ‘the last man’), once ‘the’ community sets itself to stammering a strange uniqueness (as if there should only be the one, and as if it should possess a unique essence of the common), then ‘the’ community takes in the fact that it is the community itself that gapes—yawningly open to its unity and to its absent essences—and that it confronts within itself this break. It is community against community, foreign community against foreign community and familiar community against familiar community, each rending itself in rending the others that are themselves lacking the possibility of communication, of communion too. Monotheism in itself confronted with itself—like theism and like atheism—is, for this reason, the schema of our present condition.

The Confronted Community by Jean-Luc Nancy, tr. by Amanda Macdonald (Postcolonial Studies, vol. 6, no 1, pp. 24-25, 2003). Originally published as La Communauté affrontée, Paris: Galilée, pp. 16-17, November 2001 (©)

Here’s the original French text:

De part et d’autre de la béance du monde creusée sous le nom de «globalisation», c’est bien la communauté qui est séparée et affrontée à elle-même. Jadis les communautés ont pu se penser distinctes et autonomes sans chercher leur assomption dans une humanité générique. Mais lorsque le monde finit par devenir mondial et lorsque l’homme finit de devenir humain (c’est en ce sens qu’il devient «le dernier homme»), lorsque «la» communauté se met à bégayer une étrange unicité (comme s’il devait n’y en avoir qu’une et comme s’il devait y avoir une essence unique du commun), alors «la» communauté comprend que c’est elle qui est béante ―ouverte béante sur son unité et sur son essence absentes― et qu’elle affronte en elle cette brisure. C’est communauté contre communauté, étrangère contre étrangère et familière contre familière, se déchirant elle-même en déchirant les autres qui sont elles-mêmes sans possibilité de communication ni de communion. Le monothéisme en lui-même affronté à lui-même, comme théisme et comme athéisme, est pour cette raison le schème de notre condition actuelle.

From a recent study on student homicidal violence in schools:

The number of school shootings known so far may have been underestimated. Robertz and Wickenhäuser reported 99 offenses between 1974 and 2006 and since then, additional offenses have occurred. Especially since 1999, school shootings have proven to be a global phenomenon. By now, reports about such offenses may be found throughout the world (for example, in Brazil, South Africa, Australia, Japan, China, United Arab Emirates, Finland, Sweden, or Austria). Germany alone has experienced twelve homicidal attacks by students or former students since 1999.

Although the occurrence of school homicides in so many countries is troubling, it must be remembered that they are statistically rare events and represent a small fraction of violent crimes by youth. Nevertheless, school shootings have a devastating impact on schools and communities, and have raised public concern like few other crimes. The reaction to school shootings has had a tremendous impact on school safety and security policies, as well as the everyday functioning of schools. (BONDÜ, Rebecca, CORNELL, Dewey G. and SCHEITHAUER, Herbert (2011). “Student homicidal violence in schools: An international problem”, New Directions for Youth Development, vol. 2011, issue 129, pages 13–30, Spring 2011, PDF, DOI: 10.1002/yd.384)

This article was first published online on April 13, 2011. It is part of a special issue: Columbine a Decade Later: The Prevention of Homicidal Violence in Schools.


Subscribe to our newsletter

This newsletter serves one purpose only: it sends a single email notification whenever a new post is published on aphelis.net, never more than once a day. Upon subscribing, you will receive a confirmation email (if you don’t, check your spam folder). You can unsubscribe at any time.