What is a Community?

In the context of the collapse of communism in Western Europe, several philosophers—notably Maurice Blanchot and Jean-Luc Nancy—have striven to rethink the notion of “common”. Drawing on Marguerite Duras’s novel The Malady of Death, they argue that a community always escapes all attempts to grasp it, since death is the only thing we truly have in common. Perreau shows that disavowing one’s sense of belonging is a luxury that minorities cannot afford. Building on Didier Eribon’s work, he suggests that “community” is not a constantly receding horizon but a critical return to an experienced event. Perreau offers new insights on writers—such as Rachid O., Nina Bouraoui, or Édouard Louis—whose work questions their own trajectories across cultural and social borders.

Selected publications:

  • “L’ombre de la loi. Blanchot, Duras, Foucault,” Multitudes (France), 44, 2011, pp. 95-98.
  • “Rachid O.’s Inner Exile. Homosexuality and Postcolonial Textuality.” in Edith B. Vandervoort (ed.), Masculinities in Twentieth- and Twenty-first Century French and Francophone Literature, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2011, pp. 155-172.
  • Charles Fourier ou l’analyse sérielle du genre” in Tania Angeloff, Michel Lallement, Jacqueline Laufer, Élénonore Lépinard, Pascale Molinier (eds.), “Épistémologies du genre,” special issue of Marché du Travail et Genre, 2006, pp. 31-38.

Project Lead