"These.Are.The Breaks": Rethinking "Disagreement" Through Hip Hop

Transformations 19 (2011)

Robin M. James
University of North Carolina, Charlotte
In this paper, I argue that it is productive to read Rancière’s theory of political practice – what he calls “disagreement” – with and against Kodwo Eshun’s theorization of hip hop. Thinking disagreement through hip hop helps flesh out how, exactly, disagreement works, particularly at the level of individual embodiment and consciousness. While Rancière himself gives us many examples of interruptions to the political body , I am interested in examining how these interruptions work in, on, and through individual bodies. How is it that we become aware of the ways that distributions of sensibility – particularly hegemonic ones, which are most likely to be normalized and imperceptible by virtue of their ubiquity – structure our corporeal schemas? How does one’s corporeal schema reinforce or interrupt dominant distributions of sensibility? Can we stage an interruption of our own corporeal schemas, and if so, how?
Keywords Ranciere  Disagreement  Hip Hop  music  social identity  politics and aesthetics
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