chapter  26
12 Pages

Jacques Rancière

ByRENS VAN MUNSTER

Jacques Rancière is one of the most innovative and prolific thinkers of the current Left. Strongly inspired by the thought of Althusser, Foucault and other strands of French thought in the second half of the twentieth century, Rancière has developed an anti-foundational account of politics that is every bit as original as it is radical. Claiming that genuine emancipation involves the confirmation of equality, Rancière’s main objective is to recuperate politics from the point of view of the abject. Whether he writes about political science and philosophy, cultural studies, history, pedagogy or literature, his thinking always concerns the question of how the abject might take the stage, make themselves heard and put a claim on society’s members to be recognised as their equals. This relentless exploration of the ways in which a social distribution of roles, places and functions is challenged in the name of equality offers, in a time where traditional leftwing politics seems to have lost much of its critical purchase, ‘one of the few consistent conceptualizations of how we are to continue to resist’ (Žižek 2004b: 79).