This book is a critical introduction to contemporary French philosopher Jacques Ranciere. It is the first introduction in any language to cover all of his major work and offers an accessible presentation and searching evaluation of his significant contributions to the fields of politics, pedagogy, history, literature, film theory and aesthetics. This book traces the emergence of Ranciere s thought over the last forty-five years and situates it in the diverse intellectual contexts in which it intervenes. Beginning with his egalitarian critique of his former teacher Louis Althusser, the book tracks the subsequent elaboration of Ranciere s highly original conception of equality. This approach reveals that a grasp of his early archival and historiographical work is vital for a full understanding both of his later politics and his ongoing investigation of art and aesthetics. Along the way, this book explains and analyses key terms in Ranciere s very distinctive philosophical lexicon, including the police order, disagreement , political subjectivation , literarity , the part which has no part , the regimes of art and the distribution of the sensory .
This book argues that Ranciere s work sets a new standard in contestatory critique and concludes by reflecting on the philosophical and policy implications of his singular project.
Oliver Davis is Assistant Professor of French Studies at the University of Warwick.
Preface vii Acknowledgements xiii 1 The Early Politics: From Pedagogy to Equality 1 Althusser's lesson 2 Platonic inequality in Marx, Sartre and Bourdieu 15 Jacotot and radical equality 25 2 History and Historiography 36 Les Revoltes Logiques (1975 81) 36 The Nights of Labor: The Workers' Dream in Nineteenth-Century France  52 The Names of History: On the Poetics of Knowledge  57 Conclusion 72 3 The Mature Politics: From Policing to Democracy 74 Politics and 'the police' 76 Ranciere's structural account of democracy: the 'wrong' and the miscount 80 Political 'subjectivation' 84 The aesthetic dimension of politics: the 'division' or 'distribution' of 'the sensory' (le partage du sensible) 90 Overall assessment of Ranciere's account of politics 92 4 Literature 101 'What is literature?' 102 Writing, literarity ... and literature 107 Ranciere as reader 115 5 Art and Aesthetics 126 Aesthetic experience and equality: with Kant and Gauny, against Bourdieu 128 The regimes of art 134 Film and film theory 138 Contemporary art, politics and community 152 Afterword 160 Notes 162 References 191 Index 207