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The Lessons of Rancière$
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Samuel A. Chambers

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199927210

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199927210.001.0001

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(p.38) 1 Politics
The Lessons of Rancière

Samuel A. Chambers

Oxford University Press

Rancière gives a radical and novel definition of politics, as he redefines all that we normal take for politics—elections, courts, parliaments, bureaucracies—under the category of “the police.” This counterintuitive account of politics has led many commentators to read Rancière in ways similar to the standard, “territorial” reading of Hannah Arendt: they take Rancière to be giving an account of the unique sphere of politics, and thus they see his vision of politics as pure. Writing against this trend, this chapter take seriously Rancière's claim that there can be no pure politics whatsoever (and his attendant claim that political philosophy seeks the elimination of politics). Politics is an act of impurity, and the emergence of democratic politics cannot occur in its own sphere but only within the very regimes of policing that make up the world.

Keywords:   pure politics, arendt, political philosophy, politics, the political

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