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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.65) 2 Police
The Lessons of Rancière

Samuel A. Chambers

Oxford University Press

“Police” is an absolutely central concept to Rancière's broader corpus and proves particularly important to his understanding of politics, but it has often been a neglected term in his writings. This chapter focuses directly on Rancière's concept of the police: showing its connection to previous thinkers such as Foucault, linking it to Rancière's crucial concept of the partition/distribution of the sensible (le partage du sensible), and demonstrating that the relationship between police and politics cannot be a Manichean battle between good and evil. To make this final, most important point about the subtle and interconnected relationship between politics and police, this chapter offers a critical reading of Todd May's attempt to appropriate Rancière's thinking of politics for the tradition of anarchism. The chapter challenges May's efforts, insisting that the anarchist vision of politics returns us to precisely the “pure politics” that Rancière so resolutely opposes.

Keywords:   police, anarchism, foucault, consensus democracy, partition/distribution of the sensible

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