Jacques RANCIÈRE (b. 1940)

Philosopher, Professor Emeritus of "aesthetics and politics" at the University of Paris VIII, he has published numerous works in these fields, of which the following deserve to be stressed out: Le Maître ignorant. Cinque leçons sur l'émancipation intellectuelle (1987; The Ignorant School Master. Five lessons on intellectual emancipation, 1991; pt. trans. 2010), La Mésentente. Politique et philosophie (1995; Disagreement. Politics and philosophy, 1998), Le Partage du sensible (2000; Aesthetics and Politics. The distribution of the sensible, 2004; pt. trans. 2010), L'Inconscient esthétique (2001; The Aesthetic unconscious, 2009) and Le Spectateur émancipé (2008; The Emancipated spectator, 2010; pt. trans. 2010).
His meeting and subsequent disagreement with Althusser is a key step in the development of this prominent voice in political philosophy. In La Mésentente he reassesses canonical texts and themes of political thought, arguing that the founding aspect of democracy is disagreement, in relation to the protagonists, themes and terms of the political exchange. Democratic politics is therefore envisaged as the continuous dispute on the demarcation or "distribution of the sensible". Nevertheless, in these times of consensus - as well as of political alienation -, it is in the field of contemporary art and culture, in realms such as literature, theater, visual arts and cinema, that Rancière acknowledges the domains where the demarcation of the sensible is subject to the most intense examination and dispute. In Aesthetics and Politics the author develops the relation between politics and aesthetics, underwriting a major work on contemporary aesthetic theory. In fact it is here that Rancière characterizes his three aesthetic regimes (the "ethical", the "representative" and the "aesthetic"), proceeding to the systematic survey of the operations that are intrinsic to each one of them. His undertaking leads him to standpoint alien to notions such as "modernity" and that entails the reassessment of the usual distinction between language and image, and the tendency to identify image with the visible, verifying the effects of the image within the literary text (e.g. description, which interrupts the narrative), as well as a variety of forms of intertwinement of what can be said and the visible.

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