Friday, June 18, 2010

Jacques Ranciere's Dissensus

Dissensus is a collection of short essays and interviews. Quite pellucid. There's a fair amount of repetition, but not in a bad way. It's the perfect introduction to Ranciere, especially to Dis- Agreement. He has a really strong critique of the ethical turn as the eviction of politics (in the name of consensus), esp. Badiou on evil and Hart and Negri's Empire. Ranciere is a very strong far reader but a very careless reader of Derrida and Agamben (straight out misreadings of both), and he can be quite dogmatic (anti-Heidegger--nothing close to the sophistication fo Lacoue-Labarthe's critique). Ranciere is opposed both to Arendt on citizenship and to biopolitics (too Heideggerian--Being, given=way of life / bare life=destiny=only a god can save us. Ranciere is resolutely anti "onto-technological" and anti-political theology (messianic time). He has a reductive account of the sacred and messianic and misreads Agamben (homo sacer is not sacred for Agamben) and Derrida (messianism is without a messiah for Derrida). But Ranciere is really smart on democracy and a good writer to boot. I think Ranciere's critique of consensus--a look back at catastrophic created by infinite evil leading to a future of (George Bus's) infinite justice (pretty much exception as norm) that replaces politics with the police (not the police as we tend to think of them, however) and the evacuation of dissensus, or politics (the counting of the uncounted, the displacement of the placed). Democracy is not reducible to the population but comes with a supplement that makes politics / democracy (Demos) possible. Sort of like Agamben, Ranciere has his own aporias and neatly formulated paradoxes; he makes a combination of deconstructive moves (set up an opposition and collapse it) and Zizekian moves (invert what seems obviously the case and show that the inversion is actually the case). So I find it stimulating to read through the essays in Dissensus and recommend them to you. Sparks fly here and there.
Ranciere's Consensus is coming out later this Summer.

No comments: