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    Also available om Continuum

    Beng an Een Alain BadiouConons, Alain BadiouInne Though Alain Badiouog of Wor Alain BadiouTheore Wngs Alain BadiouTheo of he Subjec, Alain BadiouSeeng he Inbe, Michel HenyAer Fnue Quentin Meillassouxme for Reouon, Antonio Negio of Aeshe, Jacques RanceThe Fe Senses, Michel SeesAr an Fear, Paul Viilioegae Hozon, Paul Viilio

    FothcomingAhussers esson acques RaneChrones of Consensua mes Jacques RanceMaa,

    Jacques Rance

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    DISSENSUS

    On Politics and Aesthetics

    Jacques ancire

    Steven Corcoan

    "cti

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    nnm nn bng The Tower Buildng 80 Maiden Lne11 York Road Suite 704London SE1 7NX New York NY 10038

    www connuumbooks com

    Jacques Rancire and Steven Corcoran, 2010

    All rights reserved. No part of this publicaion may be reproduced ortransmited in any form or by any means electronc or mechanical includingphotocopying recording or any inormaon storage or retrieval systemwithout prior permssion n writing rom he publishers

    B by gng-nbcn

    A caalogue record for hs book is avaiable rom the British Library.

    ISBN: 978-1847064455

    by ng gng-nbcn Rancire JacquesDissensus on politics and aesthetics Jacques Rancire edied and ranslatedby Steven Corcoran

    p m

    Includes indexISBN13 978184706-445-5ISBN10 18470644501 Poliical sciencePhosophy 2. Aesheics-Politica aspecsI. Corcoran Steve II le

    JA71 R36 2010320.0 1dc22

    Tpese by Newgen Imaging Systems Pvt Ltd Chennai India

    2009023696

    Printed and bound in Great Britain by the MPG Books Group, Bodmin andKing's Lynn

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    Contents

    Acknowledgements vii

    Editos ntoduction

    he eshe of o

    Ten Theses on Politics 27

    2 Does Democcy Men Something 45

    3 Who s the Subect of the Rights o Mn 62

    4 Communism Fom Actulity to nctulity 765 The People o the Mulitudes 84

    6 Biopoltics o Politics 91

    7 Septembe nd Aftewds A Ruptue in theSymbolic Ode 97

    8 Of W s the Supeme Fom of AdvncedPlutoctic Consensus 105

    he o ofeshe

    9 The Aestheic Revolution nd Its Outcomes 115

    10 The Pdoxes of Politicl At 134

    11 The Politics of Liteue 152

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    2 The Monument nd Its Condences; o Deleue nd AtsCpcity of Resistnce 169

    13 The Ethicl of Aesthetics nd Politics 184

    espse o

    4 The Use of Distinctions

    Notes

    ndex

    20

    219

    227

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    Acknowledgements

    A numbe of the aticles inclue in this collection have aleay appeaein English. I consulte the tanslation o 'Ten Theses on Politics by

    Davie Panaga an Rachel Bowlby which st appeae in the onlineoual Theo and Event 3 (200) an emain inebte to hei wok;Does Democacy Mean Somehing st appeae in the collecionAdieu Derrida (e Costas Douinas Lonon Palgave Macmillan 2007)an has been extensively ewoke hee as has he essay Who is theSubec of the Rghts of Man s publishe in South Atlantic Quarterly103 (2004) pp 29730 Thanks ae also ue to Kheya Bag o pemission to epint a slightly moie vesion of The Aesheic Revolution

    an its Outcomes Emploments of Autonomy an Heteonomy initiallypublishe in e Review (vol 14, 2002) The Poliics of Liteatuewas st publshe in SubStance (2004), pp 1024 Lastly consuleean-Philippe Deantys tanslation of The Ehical n in Aestheicsan Politics publishe in Critical Horizons 7 (2006), pp 20 Howevethe vesion of it that appeas hee is taken fom my anslaion oRancies Aesthe and Disnten (Lonon Polity 2009) pp 0932,epinte wth the kin pemssion of Saah Dogson at Poliy Pess an

    Joanna Delome at GalileI woul like to thank all those who helpe with this poect: Aulie

    Mauin fo he vivi iscussions of Fench linguisic subtleties Gene Rayan Ela Lapiot fo thei helpful comments on the English anslationan incisive theoetical emaks; an Saah Campbell an m Cck aPoty who showe immense patience an encouagemen; an lasly mythanks go o Jacques Rancie o his gacousness an supt thoughoutevey sage o the pocess

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    Editor's Introduction

    What is politics? What is art? And how are we to conceive of theirintimate and attested interrelation? There are a least two ways oapproaching these questions. First, art and politics qua singular domainsof human thought and activity, can be taken as two separae realities,each with its own principle of realization. Poliics is so consrued forexample whenever it is dened as a specic form o he exercse o

    wer and its mode of legitimation; so too is art when dened inmodeist or postmodeist terms on the basis o the ways in whichaesthetic specicty has been gradually won by a liberaion from theimperatives of mimetic logic.1 From this perspective the question thenarises as to whether these two separae realities can be placed in relationto one another and if so under what conditions it ought to happenConversely however, art and politics can be understood such that theirspecicity is seen to reside in their contingent suspension of the rules

    goveing normal expeience. On this view their emergence is n noway a necessary outcome of a property that is supposedly inherent o thelife of individuals or communities. It depends on an innovative leap romthe logic that ordinarily goves human situaions. In characteizingpolitics and aesthetics as forms of dissensus Rancire seeks to defend avesion of this latter alteative His most general thesis is that whathese activities do each in their own way is to effect a redisribution othe sensible that is of the ways in which human communities are 'spon

    taneously counted as wholes dvisible into their constituive pars andfunctions. For Rancire genuine poliical or artistic activiies alwaysinvolve forms of innovation that tear bodies from their assigned placesand ree speech and expression from all reduction to unctionality. They

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    2

    DIEN

    re orms o cretion t are irreducible to te sptio-temporl orizonsof given fctul community In oter words, e disruption tt eyeffect is no simply reordering o te reltions of power between exist

    ing groups; dissensus is not n insitutionl overtuing It is n ctivitytt cuts cross forms of culturl nd idenity belonging nd ierrciesbetween discourses nd genres, working o introduce new subjects ndeterogeneous objecs nto te eld of perception. And s bot ctivitiesccording to Rncire ve to do wit reorienting generl perceptulspce nd disrupting forms o belonging teir interreltion is not question tt needs sking. can be sown tt politics s n inerentlyestetic dimension nd esetics n inerently politicl one

    Rncire o course is not e rst to rgue tt te singulrity of tesecivities lies in teir rdicl cllenge to te norml socil distribution.Wt is unique bout is teoriztion owever, is how e conceives oftis logic o disruption s process of equlity nd consequently lso tewy e is ble to nlyze te complicted intertwinings of tese two formso exceptionlity. If forms o dissensus re irreducible to te objectivity ofte sitution, i is by viue of wt Rncire refers to s teir forms ofegalitarian suspension of te nol count o te socil order. As sttedte nodl point round wic bot ctivities revolve nd wic ensuresteir inerrelion is tt bot re orms of dissensus First ten it pyso exmine te logic of consensus tt every dissensus works to disrupt

    Consensus s Rncire undersnds it is dened by te ide of teproper and te distribution o plces of te proper nd improper itimplies Tis logic is in is view te spontneous logic underlying everyierrcy: it is te very ide o te difference between te proper ndte improper t serves to seprte out e politicl rom e socil rtfrom culture culture from commerce nd tt denes ierrcicldistribuions were everyones speec is determined in terms of teirproper plce nd teir civity in terms of its proper funcion witoutreminder t consiss in te mtcing of poeisis or wy of doing witan aisthes or orizon o fecs Te essence of consensus en is tesupposition o n identiy between sense nd sense between fct ndis interpretion between speec nd its ccount between fctulstus nd n ssigntion o rigts etc.

    By contrst, te logic of dissensus consists in te demonstrtion of certin improprie wic disrupts te identity nd revels te gp

    between poeis nd athesis Te logic underlying tese prctices is mterilist nd nti-essentilist one. Politics is process claims Rncire

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    EDITOR' INTRODtON

    tht simultneously denies every foundtion on which it might come oform the positivity of sphere or purity. As we shll see throughou theessys in this book, the bsic logic of this fom o innovtion gins the

    dicttes of hierrchy nd the policing of domins is prdoxicl onewhich cn be simply stted s A lwys consists in bluring the boundries between A nd nonA Politics then insted of consisting in n ctivitywhose principle seprtes its domin out rom he socil is n civitytht consists only in blurring the boundries beween wht is consideredpoliticl nd wht is considered proper to the domin o socil or privtelife (As we shll see the sme logic is used to mke sense o the singulrity of t) But we re fr here from the motto ccording o which

    eveything is politicl including esthetic selffshioning. Precisely, ifeverything is politicl hen nothing is Similrly the concept of 'thepolitics of rt is not nother version of engged or citicl rt ny morethn it is of 't for rts ske. As Rncire never tires o reiering rnd politics only ever consis in he of equlity th they stge inthe plots which these specic prctices of blurring enil. And the uniquenture