Tag Archives: Ranciére

Education, class differences and equality: Bourdieu and Rancière

Does the fact that children go to different schools, and that some go to college, while others attend university, have anything to do with the ostensibly irremediable class structure of societies? One’s intuitive response is likely to be in the affirmative, and it has been “scientifically” confirmed by none other than the famous French sociologist…

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The Rhodes statue, erasing the past and importance of memory

The Czech writer Milan Kundera begins his unforgettable novel, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting (Perennial Classics, 1999), with the following words: “In February 1948, the Communist leader Klement Gottwald stepped out on the balcony of a Baroque palace in Prague to harangue hundreds of thousands of citizens massed in Old Town Square. That was…

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Understanding ‘world politics’ today – Rancière and Žižek

What I have in mind with this title pertains mainly to the work of that inimitable philosopher Jacques Rancière who has infused political thinking with new life, given the fact that it has become moribund under the dead weight of largely irrelevant liberal political theory and the idea that all politics is governed by the…

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Eben Venter’s ‘Horrelpoot’, fiction and SA’s future

Anyone who has read Eben Venter’s gripping novel, Horrelpoot (Clubfoot; Tafelberg 2006), would know that it is no easy read despite being written eloquently and engagingly. What I mean is that it is a harrowing book to read. I have read the original Afrikaans version but apparently it is available in English too. Furthermore, anyone…

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Atonal music as model for democracy

I can imagine readers thinking to themselves what a nonsensical title this post bears – atonal music as a model for democracy? Really? What possible connection could there be? And yet, someone familiar with the atonal music of Arnold Schönberg, and with the idea of optimal citizen-participation as a criterion of “true” democracy, might just…

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Spaces of power and spaces of gentleness

Today we experienced two kinds of space that are diametrically opposed, or mutually exclusive. The first was the palace and gardens of Versailles, known as the residence of a succession of French kings, of whom Louis XIV and Louis XVI are probably the best known (the latter with his equally well-known queen, Marie-Antoinette, who was…

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I love Paris in the springtime…

How many people still know that song, I wonder. Or the one where Dean Martin sings “Oh, what I’d give for a moment or two, under the bridges of Paris with you … ” The point is that Paris is, and has been for a long time, one of — if not THE — most…

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Ranciére and ‘the police’

The more acquainted I get with the work of Jacques Ranciére, the more it strikes me that his uncompromisingly philosophical treatment of familiar phenomena is a way of doing what has been recognisable as philosophy’s archetypal function since the time of the ancient Greeks, namely to expose the familiar as covering up what is “truly”…

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Painting, equality and the ‘aesthetic regime of art’

There is a painting by Degas in the Philadelphia Art Museum that illustrates well what Jacques Ranciére means by the “aesthetic regime of art” (one of three “regimes”, the other two of which — the “ethical regime of images” and the “representative regime of art” — preceded the “aesthetic regime” historically). It shows a man…

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Is social equality an illusion?

Some people evidently thought that in my last post I was writing approvingly about Plato’s division of the community/society into three classes (philosopher-kings/queens — yes, he did allow for women in this category; protectors, and producers). Actually, I was not (as my response to Enough Said about classes indicated), although I admire Plato’s wisdom concerning…

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