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.
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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. Ultimately, Ranciere is indebted to the modernist tradition, which his own wordy writing ascends to but never reaches.
He prioritizes non-mimetic art in problematic ways, has rather formalistic notions of how art operates--divested from context, holds a penchant for the counter-intuitive over the obvious.
In other words, his concepts loftily escape the orbit of reality often-- not that this makes them irrelevant. But if you want any use from Ranciere, it requires re-tethering his concepts with the actual practices how how art and politics actually functions. He sure has some refreshing thoughts to add to the aesthetic experience debate, but I suggest you try to read every sentence multiple times to be able to properly appreciate his writings.
May patience be with you!
Dissensus: On Politics and Aesthetics