About this topic

Jacques Rancière was born in 1940 in Algiers. He entered the renowned Ecole Normale Superieure in 1960 and followed Louis Althusser’s seminar in the following years. In 1965, he took part in a seminar that was to become immensely influential in the humanities, when it became published under the title “Reading Capital”. However, a rift with Althusser following the events of 1968 led to a new direction in his work, one that sought to engage more directly with proletarian voices and concerns. This historiographical research led to the publication of a number of dense articles in the journal Révoltes Logiques. This period of intense archival research into “the archives of the proletarian dream” culminated with the publication of his major thesis in 1981, Proletarian Nights (La Nuit des Prolétaires). In 1969, Rancière had joined the Philosophy department at the newly founded Université Paris Vincennes. This was to be his university posting for the rest of his career.  In the 1990s Rancière articulated the philosophical underpinnings that had so far guided his historiographical research, with major studies on the poetics of historical writing (The Names of History), political philosophy  (Disagreement and On the Shores of Politics), the philosophy of education (The Ignorant Schoolmaster). He also thematised his critical standpoint in relation to philosophy itself (The Philosopher and his Poor). His writings in the last two decades have concentrated on topics and issues in aesthetics, from literature, to film, performance arts and applied arts. His thinking has gradually come into prominence in the English-speaking world in the last decade or so, especially in the fields of political theory, education and aesthetics. It is today an influential paradigm in those parts of the humanities and social sciences interested in continental philosophy.

Key works

Five books stand out in Rancière’s voluminous production, as single studies that make a book-length argument:  Proletarian  Nights  (history of the French workers’ movement); the Names of History; Disagreement (Rancière’s political philosophy); The Ignorant Schoolmaster (his highly influential account of the revolutionary educator Joseph Jacotot); Mute Speech, in which the most detailed account of his famous theory of the ‘regimes of the arts’ is laid out ; and finally Aisthesis, his most recent monograph, which extends the analyses of Mute Speech to the performing arts, the decorative arts, photography and cinema.

He has published many other collections of articles on all the topics listed above, some of which have also had a major influence on contemporary thinking. Most worth listing are: Film Fables; The Flesh of Words; and The Politics of Aesthetics.


Davis 2011 Deranty 2010

Tanke 2011
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Rancière: Works
  1. Images Re-Read.Jacques Rancière, Elise Woodard, Jorge Rodriguez Solorzano, Stijn De Cauwer & Laura Katherine Smith - 2018 - Angelaki 23 (4):11-18.
  2. De onwetende meester als voorbeeld - Jacques Ranciere: van praktijk naar principe.Martijn Boven - 2017 - Wijsgerig Perspectief 3 (57):6-15.
    Bestaat de kernactiviteit van de meester erin om zijn eigen kennis uit te leggen en over te dragen? De Franse filosoof Jacques Rancière laat zien dat een gelegenheidsexperiment van Joseph Jacotot ons een ander voorbeeld aanreikt: de onwetende meester. In zijn boek De onwetende meester: vijf lessen over intellectuele emancipatie (Le maître ignorant: Cinq leçons sur l'émancipation intellectuelle) stelt hij dat de onwetende meester evengoed of zelfs beter in staat is leerlingen iets te leren dan de wetende meester. Rancière neemt (...)
  3. A Coffee with Jacques Rancière Beneath the Acropolis.Alexandros Schismenos, Yiannis Ktenas & Yavor Tarinski (eds.) - 2017 - 2017: Babylonia Journal.
    We met Jacques Rancière on Saturday, May 27, 2017, at the School of Fine Arts shortly before his speech at the B-Fest 6 International Anti-Authoritarian Festival, organized by Babylonia Journal, with a central slogan “We are ungovernable”. Rancière is among the most important European philosophers alive and his work does not need further introductions. In the cloudy morning of Sunday 28 May, we sat beneath the Acropolis to have a coffee with the philosopher. The transcript of our conversation reflects the (...)
  4. A Select Bibliography.Jacques Rancière - 2005 - Paragraph 28 (1):110-115.
  5. Literary Misunderstanding.Jacques Rancière - 2005 - Paragraph 28 (2):91-103.
  6. From Politics to Aesthetics?Jacques Rancière - 2005 - Paragraph 28 (1):13-25.
  7. Auerbach and the Contradictions of Realism.Jacques Rancière - 2018 - Critical Inquiry 44 (2):227-241.
  8. Philippe Beck. Didactic Poetries. Trans. Nicola Marae Allain. Minneapolis: Univocal, 2016. 150 Pp.Jacques Rancière. The Groove of the Poem: Reading Philippe Beck. Trans. Drew S. Burk. Minneapolis: Univocal, 2016. 150 Pp. [REVIEW]John Wilkinson - 2018 - Critical Inquiry 44 (2):406-411.
  9. Book Review: The Lessons of Rancière, by S. ChambersThe Lessons of Rancière, by ChambersS.Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013. [REVIEW]Clare Woodford - 2014 - Political Theory 42 (3):370-376.
  10. Art, Life, Finality: The Metamorphoses of Beauty.Jacques Rancière - 2017 - Critical Inquiry 43 (3):597-616.
  11. Reply to Lévy.Jacques Rancière - 1977 - Telos: Critical Theory of the Contemporary 33:119.
  12. Lire le Capital.Louis Althusser, Etienne Balibar, Roger Establet, Pierre Macherey & Jacques Rancière - 1968 - F. Maspero.
  13. Politique Et Esthétique: Entretien réalisé par Jean-Marc Lachaud le 30 novembre 2005.Jacques Rancière - 2006 - Actuel Marx 1:193-202.
    In this dialogue Jacques Rancière addresses the following questions : how Marx. can be used today ; utopian socialism ; the manifestations of hatred towards democracy ; relations between democracy and the idea of the Republic ; the complexity of the relations between art and politics, with particular reference to the œuvre of Jean-Luc Godard. Rancière also addresses recent issues in critical theory, notably the theses put forward by Negri and Hardt in Empire, and in politics, evoking alterglobalisation movements and (...)
  14. Hatred of Democracy by Jacques Rancière.James D. Ingram - 2010 - Constellations 17 (1):175-178.
  15. Un-What? Rancière - 2016 - Philosophy and Rhetoric 49 (4):589-606.
    “Pedagogics of Unlearning”: this phrase obviously echoes a notion and a figure that I had set up in my own way when I published a book entitled The Ignorant Schoolmaster with the subtitle “Five Lessons in Intellectual Emancipation”.1 Both entail the idea of a specific form of learning, which is a negative one: learning how to unlearn, teaching as an ignoramus, learning the emancipatory virtue of ignorance. This idea raises two interrelated problems. First, how are we to understand the type (...)
  16. Moments Politiques. Interventions 1977–2009. By Jacques Rancière. Translated by Mary Foster.Ruth Sonderegger - 2016 - Constellations 23 (3):461-463.
  17. Le Voile Ou la Confusion des Universels.Jacques Rancière - 2004 - Rue Descartes 44 (2):124.
  18. Jacques Ranciere: Literature, Politics, Aesthetics: Approaches to Democratic Disagreement.Solange Guenoun, James H. Kavanagh & Roxanne Lapidus - 2000 - Substance 29 (2):3.
  19. The Published Works of Jacques Rancière.Cody Hennesy - 2011 - Symposium: Canadian Journal of Continental Philosophy/Revue canadienne de philosophie continentale 15 (2):120-149.
    This bibliography is the most comprehensive compilation of Jacques Rancière's published works to date. It is not intended, however, to be the definitive catalogue of his intellectual output. In the first instance, it does not include works and interviews published in languages other than French and English. Some publications, particularly shorter works in French periodicals, have not been included, and a few of the more obscure publications listed below have been confirmed only through their appearance in secondary sources. Unpublished materials, (...)
  20. Jacques Rancière. The Intervals of Cinema. Trans. John Howe. Brooklyn: Verso, 2014. 160 Pp. [REVIEW]Abhijeet Paul - 2016 - Critical Inquiry 42 (2):411-412.
  21. Rancière, J. , Le Fil Perdu. Essais Sur la Fiction Moderne.Firmin Havugimana - 2014 - Ithaque 15:163-168.
  22. The Flesh of Words: The Politics of Writing.Charlotte Mandell (ed.) - 2004 - Stanford University Press.
    This new collection of challenging literary studies plays with a foundational definition of Western culture: the word become flesh. But the _word become flesh_ is not, or no longer, a theological already-given. It is a millennial goal or telos toward which each text strives. Both witty and immensely erudite, Jacques Rancière leads the critical reader through a maze of arrivals toward the moment, perhaps always suspended, when the word finds its flesh. That is what he, a valiant and good-humored companion (...)
  23. Assemblies in Art and Politics: An Interview with Jacques Ranciere.N. Papastergiadis & C. Esche - 2014 - Theory, Culture and Society 31 (7-8):27-41.
  24. Rethinking Modernity.Jacques Rancière - 2014 - Diacritics 42 (3):6-20.
  25. Mute Speech: Literature, Critical Theory, and Politics.James Swenson (ed.) - 2011 - Cambridge University Press.
    Jacques Rancière has continually unsettled political discourse, particularly through his questioning of aesthetic "distributions of the sensible," which configure the limits of what can be seen and said. Widely recognized as a seminal work in Rancière's corpus, the translation of which is long overdue, _Mute Speech_ is an intellectual tour de force proposing a new framework for thinking about the history of art and literature. Rancière argues that our current notion of "literature" is a relatively recent creation, having first appeared (...)
  26. Book Review: The Lessons of Rancière, by S. Chambers. [REVIEW]Clare Woodford - 2014 - Political Theory 42 (3):370-376.
  27. Rancière, Jacques. Aisthesis: Scenes From the Aesthetic Regime of Art. Trans., Zakir Paul. London: Verso, 2013. $29.95. 304 Pp. [REVIEW]Davide Panagia - 2015 - Critical Inquiry 41 (2):464-465.
  28. The Aesthetic Unconscious.Jacques Ranciere - 2010 - Polity.
    This book is not concerned with the use of Freudian concepts for the interpretation of literary and artistic works. Rather, it is concerned with why this interpretation plays such an important role in demonstrating the contemporary relevance of psychoanalytic concepts. In order for Freud to use the Oedipus complex as a means for the interpretation of texts, it was necessary first of all for a particular notion of Oedipus, belonging to the Romantic reinvention of Greek antiquity, to have produced a (...)
  29. Aesthetics and its Discontents.Jacques Ranciere - 2009 - Polity.
    Only yesterday aesthetics stood accused of concealing cultural games of social distinction. Now it is considered a parasitic discourse from which artistic practices must be freed. But aesthetics is not a discourse. It is an historical regime of the identification of art. This regime is paradoxical, because it founds the autonomy of art only at the price of suppressing the boundaries separating its practices and its objects from those of everyday life and of making free aesthetic play into the promise (...)
  30. The Method of Equality: Interviews with Laurent Jeanpierre and Dork Zabunyan.Jacques Ranciere - 2016 - Polity.
  31. La Mésentente Politique Et Philosophie.Jacques Rancière - 1995
  32. Les Mots de l'Histoire Essai de Poétique du Savoir.Jacques Rancière - 1992
  33. La mésentente.Jacques Rancière - 2000 - Cités 1:260-262.
  34. Jacques Rancière, Politique de la littérature. [REVIEW]Giovanna Gioli - 2008 - la Società Degli Individui 33.
  35. La forma e il suo spirito.Jacques Rancière - 2000 - Studi di Estetica 22:71-88.
  36. Jacques Rancière, "La Leçon d'Althusser".Brian Singer - 1975 - Telos: Critical Theory of the Contemporary 25:224.
  37. Interview: Jacques Rancière: Democracy Means Equality.Jacques Rancière - 1997 - Radical Philosophy 82.
  38. Short Voyages to the Land of the People.Jacques Rancière & James B. Swenson - 2004 - Utopian Studies 15 (1):148-150.
  39. Philosophie Et Art la Fin de L'Esthétique?Jacques Rancière - 2002 - Magazine Littéraire.
  40. Arrêt Sur Histoire.Jean-Louis Comolli & Jacques Rancière - 1997
  41. Le Philosophe Plébéien.Gabriel Gauny & Jacques Rancière - 1983
  42. Disagreement Politics and Philosophy.Jacques Rancière - 1999
  43. The Names of History on the Poetics of Knowledge.Jacques Rancière - 1994
  44. Le Maître Ignorant Cinq Leçons Sur l'Émancipation Intellectuelle.Jacques Rancière - 1987 - Fayard.
  45. Aux Bords du Politique.Jacques Rancière - 1998
  46. Destin des Images.Jacques Rancière - 2003
  47. Der Anteil der Anteilslosen. Uber: Jacques Ranciere: Das Unvernehmen.A. Hetzel - 2004 - Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie 52 (2):322.
  48. Peuple ou multitudes ?Jacques RanciÈre - 2002 - Multitudes 9.
    Answering Eric Alliez’s question on his use of the notion of people and the utility of substituting it by the notion of multitude, Jacques Rancière reminds us that the notion of people is effectively constitutive of the political, because it is the generic name of the totality of processes of subjectivation that menace the representations of equality. Politics always implies one people against another: The ideas of the multitudes, by the phobia towards a politics that would define negatively, reject the (...)
  49. Biopolitics or Politics?Jacques Rancière - 2000 - Multitudes 1.
    According to Jacques Rancière, the «police» regulates relations between bodies, and Foucault is concerned only with it, biopower being its most modern form. Rancière opposes to the hypothesis of biopolitics of subjects his conception of politics of equality.
  50. Béla Tarr, the Time After.Jacques Rancière - 2013 - Univocal Publishing.
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