29.1 | Niels Springveld

Europe Degree Zero: Community, Inoperativity, and Storytelling in Pieter de Buysser’s De keisnijders


This article considers Pieter de Buysser’s recent speculative novel De keisnijders (2012) from the perspective of the post-structuralist rethinking of the idea of Europe and the concept of community, as undertaken by Jacques Derrida and Jean-Luc Nancy respectively. Set halfway into the twenty-first century, De keisnijders depicts a (pseudo-) utopian enclave in the center of Berlin, frequented by individuals from all over the world and from practically all social strata. Unlike traditional utopias, the community does not revolve around a political blueprint or shared essence, but around philosophical speculation and storytelling. The characters in De keisnijders seek to fundamentally rethink the possibilities for a common, transnational identity, while at the same time attempting to think community in a non-identitarian, non-organicist manner.