Thinking in Common

Community in the Global Era

by Pascale Cohen-Avenel (Volume editor) Lucia Quaquarelli (Volume editor)
©2022 Edited Collection 138 Pages


This interdisciplinary volume brings together articles by researchers in the humanities and the social sciences analyzing the emergence of communities in the age of globalisation. The different contributions deal with the complex network of cultural, political and symbolic spaces that coalesce around commonly held causes or interests and examine ways in which these sets of connections impact on their members’ everyday lives, shaping attitudes and behaviours which transcend (or at least claim to transcend) the limits of the nation state, creating common spaces, communities, or at times both.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the editors
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Summary
  • Producing “the common” (Pascale Cohen-Avenel, Lucia Quaquarelli)
  • Looking South. Forgotten constructions of the global (Stéphane Dufoix)
  • Meta-reflexivity and social mobilisation in action: Greta Thunberg and the School Strike for Climate movement (Radu Cinpoes)
  • The emergence of a smart global community. Zooms in and out from Miyako (Japan) (Fabienne Martin)
  • What happened to community? How Latour’s actor-network theory deals with this key notion in sociology (Rémi Astruc. Translated by Tara Ostiguy)
  • Messianism and community (Antonin Chambon. Translated by Phoebe Chetwynd and Tara Ostiguy)
  • The global context of men’s fashion photography in contemporary Russia (Graham Roberts)
  • Series index

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Producing “the common”

Pascale Cohen-Avenel, Lucia Quaquarelli

Ou bien la masculinité, la féminité, la nation, les frontières, les démarcations territoriales et linguistiques l’emportent sur l’infinitude des séries possibles de relations établies et à établir, ou bien nous fabriquons ensemble l’enthousiasme expérimental capable de soutenir un processus constituant perpétuellement ouvert.

Paul B. Preciado, 2019

Today, the notion of “globalisation” is particularly difficult to wield. Although it seems to cover economic, political, social and cultural phenomena that mark and define our era and our relationship to the world, it is never, as Appadurai wrote, “a total project”, that takes hold “of all geographies with the same force” (2013: 88). The circulation of men and women, like those of goods, ideas and imaginings, which is supposedly free (and free-market) as well as transnational, takes place following the pattern of a very centralised hierarchical organisation which reactivates old hegemonic dynamics, reproducing a concrete and symbolic system of subordination and exploitation. In short, it takes the shape of an unequal, unfair (and often violent), selective and differential social construction that denies any possibility of a unitary, egalitarian and free world citizenry. What is at stake is not only the relation between local and global, or between homogenisation and heterogenisation – from which we have become used to situating, problematising and reading globalised and globalising practices and flows; what is at stake is also the more general epistemic question that prefigures, allows and guarantees the very existence of these flows and these practices in a framework in which the world is not the whole world where not all men and women enjoy the same rights “of passage”, or the same possibilities of appropriation, of sharing and of re-semantising the common space.←9 | 10→

If “every social community, reproduced by the functioning of institutions, is imaginary” (Balibar, Wallerstein 1997: 127), if it is the result of a largely fictional configuration, legitimised by the projection of individual existence on the image of a collective narrative – the one which, for example, gave birth and authority to the Nation-State, to the Empire-State –, what is the narrative underpinning the “World-State” that allows it to exist, to function and exercise its violence, both real and symbolic? Likewise, which other narratives could be possible? Which other narratives escape from the “striature” (Mezzadra 2008: 13), from the interstices of the global space?

It is on the basis of these statements and questions that a group of researchers from the Centre de Recherches Pluridisciplinaires Multilingues from Université Paris Nanterre in collaboration with the Institut Français de Géopolitique has been working since 2018 on the “Tournant global” (Caillé, Dufoix 2013) to question discursive, normative and political instances starting from a cross-disciplinary approach that aims to be both an opportunity to diversify analytical tools and references and an exercise in decentralising scientific thought.

The group publication that these few lines attempt to introduce presents the initial results of research that questions globalisation in terms of its capacity to generate communities beyond political and geographical borders, around a common, that, after the “conflagration” (Blanchot 1984) of the meaning of community must be rethought beyond, or even upstream of, any hegemonic logic of unification, of any process of reducing differences to one (single) common. It must, in short, rewrite relations between individual and universal whose antinomy, wrote Agamben once and for all, “ha la sua origine nel linguaggio” (Agamben 2001: 18) and whose danger spans, marks and wounds our history.


ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2021 (December)
Bruxelles, Berlin, Bern, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2022. 138 pp., 5 fig. col., 5 fig. b/w, 1 tables.

Biographical notes

Pascale Cohen-Avenel (Volume editor) Lucia Quaquarelli (Volume editor)

Pascale Cohen-Avenel is full professor at Paris Nanterre university where she co-directs the CRPM, Centre de Recherches Pluridisciplinaires Multilingues. Her research focuses on national stereotypes in popular culture and globalization as well as on representations of violence in the Franco-German wars. Lucia Quaquarelli is associated professor at Paris Nanterre university, where she co-directs the CRPM, Centre de Recherches Pluridisciplinaires Multilingues. Her research focuses on the transformations of contemporary narrative and the cultural and political impact of translation.


Title: Thinking in Common
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140 pages