6 Pages


RANCIÈRE, JACQUES (1940-) Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Paris VIII (St Denis). A student of the French Marxist Louis Althusser, Rancière rst came to prominence with a contribution on Karl Marx’s critique of political economy in the French publication of the Althusser-led seminars Lire le Capital (1965). Like Althusser, Rancière drew a sharp distinction between the ideological experience of individuals and the scienti c authority of theory, especially in relation to the latter’s ability to comprehend the complete workings of commodity production. This chapter did not appear in the English version of the text, Reading Capital (1968), and in the same year Rancière broke with Althusser. The reasons for this break relate, in the rst instance, to Althusser’s political detachment from the student and worker uprisings in France in May 1968; and, second, to Rancière’s suspicion that the privilege accorded to theory in the Althusserian project could neither account for nor match the political creativity and analysis practised by the participants in the uprising of 1968. This break and its rejection of Rancière’s earlier hierarchical distinction between theory and individual experience were decisive and have structured, to a large extent, the rest of Rancière’s work.