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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.157) Afterword
The Lessons of Rancière

Samuel A. Chambers

Oxford University Press

This afterword departs more significantly from Rancière's own writings, as it makes an argument that Rancière himself has tended to resist. The chapter suggest that queer theory can serve to illuminate Rancière's account of democratic politics as a miscount (as a counting of those who do not count), and that, in complementary fashion, Rancière's sense of politics as the disruption of a hierarchical police order can productively illuminate the meaning and stakes of queer politics. The chapters shows the close compatibility between queer theory's relational sense of identity and Rancière's understanding of subjectivation not as identification but as disidentification. Reading together arguments from Judith Butler and from Rancière, the chapter develops the concept of unintelligibility, and shows that “the unintelligible” is a category that undoes the presumptions of liberal politics. Only a radical democratic politics, a queer politics, can make sense of the unintelligible without reducing it to a category of victimization or domination. A politics of and for queer theory is thus democratic in just Rancière's sense, and Rancière's democratic politics is queer, despite his protestations to the contrary.

Keywords:   democratic miscount, queer politics, unintelligibility, Butler, subjectivation, disidentification

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