Reminiscent of Freire. The later essays take to task Barthes while relying on DeLeuze and others in support of appreciating modern image making as an evolution rather than a repudiation of image A fascinating take on spectatorship and the image. The later essays take to task Barthes while relying on DeLeuze and others in support of appreciating modern image making as an evolution rather than a repudiation of image aesthetics and cultural fabrication. Ranciere talks about abrutir rather than oppression. Before that the idea of the myth of the audience as passive victims of the mass media was taken apart by many in Media and Communication studies. Sage, , p.
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Reviewed by Todd May, Clemson University Whenever a French philosopher begins to become fashionable, one can expect a growing cascade of translations of his work. Not only will the major and minor texts appear, but also various sorts of collected writings. This is emphatically not the case with the collection under review. One can mark two distinct but related periods in his "mature" work, which cover two distinct but related themes: politics and aesthetics.
The former period might be said, a bit arbitrarily, to begin with the appearance of The Ignorant Schoolmaster, and culminates with Disagreement, published in The latter period perhaps starts with the publication of Silent Speech forthcoming in English and continues to the present day.
Such a dating is a bit arbitrary, however, since there are aesthetic writings from before and political writings from after that date. The writings gathered here, which date from to , perform both tasks admirably. It is not a matter of the institutional creation of just social arrangements. Rather, it is a matter of what people do, and in particular what they do that challenges the hierarchical order of a given set of social arrangements. Such action, if it is political, is going to be collective rather than individual.
It will concern a group of people or a subset of that group who have been presupposed unequal by a particular hierarchical order, as well as those in solidarity with them, acting as though they were indeed equal to those above them in the order, and thus disrupting the social order itself.
What are disrupted are not only the power arrangements of the social order, but, and more deeply, the perceptual and epistemic underpinnings of that order, the obviousness and naturalness that attaches to the order.
Described this way, one can begin to see its interaction with aesthetic concerns. A dissensus is not merely a disagreement about the justice of particular social arrangements, although it is that as well. Aesthetics is also a challenge to a particular partition of the sensible, but in a different way. An aesthetic practice, then, like politics, is a dissensus from a given partition of the sensible. The aesthetic movement of politics "consists above all in the framing of a we, a subject of collective demonstration whose emergence is the element that disrupts the distribution of social parts.
Instead, it re-frames the world of common experience as the world of a shared impersonal experience. In this way, it aids to help create the fabric of a common experience in which new modes of constructing common objects and new possibilities of subjective enunciation may be developed. It moves on to discussions of his view of democracy and consensus. First, it is against the background of consensus that his idea of dissensus is developed.
As he succinctly puts the point in Chronique des temps consensuels, The consensus that governs us is a machine of power insofar as it is a machine of vision. It pretends to verify only what everyone can see by adjusting two propositions on the state of the world: one which says that we are finally at peace, and the other which announces the condition of this peace: the recognition that there is only what there is.
Paris: Seuil, , p. However, it finds its way back into their thought when they turn toward specific interventions. This is in part because, in his view, the aesthetic regime is constituted by paradoxes, and the project of art in the aesthetic regime is to navigate these paradoxes without reducing one side of the paradox to the other. For instance, in aesthetics there is no particular border that separates art from life; however, art is not the same thing as life either.
The challenge confronting contemporary artists, then, is how to keep alive the dissensus of art without simply reducing it to the reality from which it dissents or claiming that that reality is nothing other than art. The treatment of current humanitarian and interventionist discourse in this chapter is one of the most perspicacious I have read anywhere. There are, of course, gaps in the texts of Dissensus. For those who seek to get a sense both of the richness and the breadth of the work of one of the most significant thinkers of our time, Dissensus provide a valuable resource.
I can think of no better starting point than this collection.
Who the Fuck is Jacques Ranciere?
Dec 15, Chris rated it liked it What to make of Ranciere? He falls in a long line of extremely abstract French thought. On a very general level, he provides some interesting insights in conceptualizing the concept of the police as a sort of regimented array of the sensible that extends the concept into a very broad term. Perhaps his most relevant observation is the way in which the What to make of Ranciere? Perhaps his most relevant observation is the way in which the aesthetic plays into his notion of the political, which creates a dissensus between different symbolic orders. He also makes a good point of how political resistance and aesthetic resistance must remain on different registers altogether. On a another level, much of what he writes strikes one as using grandiose verbiage in making some fairly obvious points.
Dissensus: On Politics and Aesthetics
A French critical theorist and philosophical troll in a world of ivory tower intellectualism, bourgeois academics, and Jean Baudrillard, Ranciere stands out as a kind of anti-philosopher. A University of Paris professor and former student of Louis Althusser, Ranciere has committed his intellectual project to destroying its foundations. While that may sound a lot like Baudrillard , who wants to remind everyone that everything is simulation and nothing matters, or Nietzsche who attacks the foundations of Western metaphysics, Ranciere takes a different approach. Namely, by accusing every other philosopher of being a shitty Platonist and hating democracy. There are two kinds of politics in the status quo, fake poser bullshit masquerading as politics and the real thing. Dissensus is the process by which actors disrupt the politics of the police.
The Emancipated Spectator