Topic(s): Rancière | Comments Off on Rene — Rancière — ELEVEN THESES ON POLITICS

Jacques Rancière’s
1. Politics is not the exercise of power. Politics must be defined by itself, as a specific way of acting put into practice by a particular kind of subject and deriving from a particular kind of rationality. It is the political relationship which makes it possible to conceive of the political subject, not the reverse.
2. What is peculiar to politics is the existence of a subject defined by its participation in opposites. Politics is a paradoxical type of action.
3. Politics is a specific rupture of the logic of the arkhe. For it does not simply presuppose the rupture of the “normal” distribution of positions between the one who exercises a power and the one who undergoes it, but also a rupture in the idea of dispositions that make people “suitable” for these positions.
4. Democracy is not a political regime. Insofar as it is a rupture of the logic of the arkhe, in other words, of the anticipation of rule in the disposition for it, it is the regime of politics as a form of relationship defining a specific subject.
5. The people which is the subject of democracy, and so the matricial subject of politics, is not the collection of members of the community or the labouring class of the population. It is the supplementary part in relation to any counting of the parts of the population which makes it possible to identify the count of the uncounted with the whole of the community.
6. The essence of politics is the action of supplementary subjects inscribed as surplus in relation to any count of the parts of a society.
7. If politics is the outline of a vanishing difference with the distribution of social parts and shares, then it follows that its existence is in no way necessary, but that it happens as an always provisional accident in the history of forms of domination. It follows from this also that the essential object of political litigation is the very existence of politics.
8. Politics is specifically opposed to the police. The police is a partition (partage) of the perceptible whose principle is the absence of void and of supplement.
9. The essential work of politics is the configuration of its own space. It is to get the world of its subjects and its operations to be seen. The essence of politics is the manifestation of dissensus, as the presence of two worlds in a single one.
10. Inasmuch as it is characteristic of political philosophy to ground political action in a specific mode of being, so it is characteristic of political philosophy to efface the litigation which is constitutive of politics. It is in the very description of the world of politics that philosophy effects this effacement. Moreover, its effectiveness is perpetuated right down to non philosophical or anti-philosophical descriptions of this world.
11. The “end of politics” and the “return of politics” are two complementary ways of cancelling out politics in the simple relationship between a state of the social and a state of state apparatuses. Consensus is the vulgar name for this cancellation.