Thursday, December 20, 2012

From "The Aesthetic Dimension: Aesthetics, Politics, Knowledge," by Jacques Rancière

Some consequences can be drawn from this regarding the mode of existence of the demos. On the one hand, the power of the demos is nothing but the inner difference that both legitimizes and delegitimizes any state institution or practice of power.

As such it is a vanishing difference that is ceaselessly annulled by the oligarchic functioning of institutions.

This is why, on the other hand, this power must be continuously reenacted by political subjects. A political subject is a subject constituted through a process of enunciation and manifestation that plays the part of the demos.

What does it mean to play the part of the demos? It means to challenge the distribution of parts, places, and competences by linking a particular wrong done to a specific group with the wrong done to anyone by the police distribution—the police’s denial of the capacity of the anyone.

This is what a political dissensus means. A dissensus puts two worlds—two heterogeneous logics—on the same stage, in the same world. It is a commensurability of incommensurables.

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