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The Sense of Community

How does literature, art and philosophy explore, excavate, and produce conventions, patterns, and infrastructure for communities?

Power cords and two men in cranes. Photo.
Photo: American Public Power Association/Unsplash

About the group

The arts have a long tradition for translating, defining, and even provoking and inspiring phenomena such as attachment, attraction, community, friendship and love in ways that resonate in spectators, listeners, and readers.

The research group The Sense of Community (SOC) takes as its point of departure that:

  • The arts serve a crucial role in instigating and maintaining communities.
  • Art is an unavoidable resource in understanding their foundations and relevance.

This is widely known in the aesthetical tradition. Many cultural critics have argued that the cultural condition in late capitalism suffers from a crisis in the consolidation of traditional senses of community. The social sciences tell of new forms of attachment and of loneliness and of the emergence of new precarious communities.

Research interests

SOC will investigate the grounds of various forms of community. We discuss how the notion of community has been described and conceptualized in various genres under different cultural and historical conditions.

Central questions are:

  • How does literature, art and philosophy deal with the foundations of community in its double meaning, as feeling and as concept?
  • How do sensual experiences, affects and emotions facilitate various notions of community?
  • How does literature and art contribute to inventing new arenas for sharing the sensible in ways that might facilitate new forms of attraction, attachment and senses of belonging?

Theoretical and literary texts

The research group meets regularly to discuss theoretical and literary texts.

Some important theoretical references are: Aristotle, Adam Smith, John Dewey, Hanna Arendt, Jacques Derrida, Jacques Rancière, Nicolas Bourriaud, Roberto Espositio and Martha Nussbaum.

We are doing research on literary writers as diverse as Plato, Michel de Montaigne, George Eliot, Nelly Sachs, Paul Celan, Michel Houellebecq and Virginie Despentes.


Seminar: Vennskapets politikk 

9. desember 2022


9.15 - 9.45       Velkommen og presentasjon av deltakerne (kort om forskningsinteresser) 

9.45 - 10.45    Christian Janss: Introduksjon til Jan Assmanns analyse av vennskap i eldre egyptisk kultur


11-12    Iver B. Neumann: Vennskap mellom stater

12-13   Lunsj

13-14   Ingvild Folkvord: Felleskapsformasjoner i 22. juli-litteraturen


14.15-15.15 Hallvard Fossheim: The Political Turn in Plato´s Charmides


15.30-16.30 Tone Selboe: Kjærlighetsbrevet: Historikk og retorikk


10.10.2022. Discussion. Sherry Turkle: Reclaiming Conversation

19.09.2022. Discussion. Maurice Blanchot:  L'Amitié

12.08.2022: Kl. 9.15 – 16.30: Workshop: Vennskapets filosofi og litteratur


9.15 - 9.45

Velkommen og presentasjon av deltakerne (kort om forskningsinteresser) 

9.45 - 10.45

Camilla Schwartz: Friendship in a Time of Neoliberalism


Diskusjon. Bernard Stiegler, "Five Hundred Million Friends: The Pharmacology of Friendship" (2012)

12-13 Lunsj

13-14  Christian Refsum: Vennskapets politikk i den europeiske samtidsromanen: Elena Ferrante, Ali Smith, Virginie Despentes


14.15-15.15.  Christian Janss: Vennskap i Rainer Maria Rilke, Die Sonette an Orpheus, Sonett nr. XXIV (se vedlegg)


15.30-16.30 Diskusjon. Sheila Heti, Pure Colours (2022)


Previous activities

24.03.2022. Discussion. Nietzsche

11.02.2022. Discussion. Emerson

21.01.2022. Discussion. Nussbaum 

03.12.2022. Discussion. Cicero

10.11.2022. Frederik Tygstrup: Om "Kunsten som forum" + diskusjon om Édouard Glissant 

18.09.2022. Ali Smith, Autumn

Published Apr. 21, 2021 8:35 AM - Last modified Nov. 26, 2022 7:15 PM