Militants of truth, communities of equality: Badiou and the ignorant schoolmaster

Educational Philosophy and Theory 42 (2):251-263 (2010)
Badiou's philosophy of the 'event' has itself become an event of sorts for contemporary social and political theory. It has broken radically with a set of propositions concerning the operation of power, the status of knowledge, and the possibility of action that were for some time considered nearly unquestionable, in many ways defining what Badiou might call 'the state of the situation'. After briefly outlining the manner in which Badiou's reinvigoration of the concept of 'truth' constitutes a serious challenge for the politics of difference and the ethics of alterity, this paper explores the significance for educational philosophy of what, borrowing from Jacques Rancière, Badiou calls the 'axiom of equality', or the notion that, in democratic politics, 'equality must be postulated not willed '. I suggest that this axiom is best understood when read in relation to Rancière's The Ignorant Schoolmaster , and thus explore an intrinsic link between Badiou's more obscure philosophical claims and political assertions on the one hand, and the question of education on the other. I further propose that the limitations of Badiou's criticism of Rancière's work, which suggests that he stops short of locating an effective political subject who might oppose the parliamentary state, are revealed most explicitly when we reassess Rancière's approach to education in The Ignorant Schoolmaster , and in his more recent work on political aesthetics. Ultimately, however, I conclude that a truly democratic approach to education will have to learn from both Badiou and Rancière, and take seriously the 'axiom of equality'.
Keywords equality  Rancière  Badiou  education  event  aesthetics
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/j.1469-5812.2008.00488.x
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 35,829
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Being and Event.Alain Badiou - 2005 - Continuum.
Saint Paul. The Foundation of Universalism.Alain Badiou & Ray Brassier - 2006 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 68 (1):193-195.

View all 10 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Badiou, Pedagogy and the Arts.Thomas E. Peterson - 2010 - Educational Philosophy and Theory 42 (2):159-176.
Thinking the Break: Rancière, Badiou, and the Return of a Politics of Resistance.Todd May - 2009 - Comparative and Continental Philosophy 1 (2):253-268.
Alain Badiou: The Event of Becoming a Political Subject.Antonio Calcagno - 2008 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 34 (9):1051-1070.


Added to PP index

Total downloads
71 ( #91,945 of 2,293,791 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
5 ( #108,085 of 2,293,791 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature