Aesthetics, Politics, and the Embodied Political Subject
Kritike: An Online Journal of Philosophy
This paper draws out an aspect of the subject of politics in the later works of the philosopher Jacques Rancière, particularly his writings on aesthetics and politics. One of the reasons why Rancière is an exemplary thinker is the relationship between aesthetics and politics that informs his theory of politics and political subjectivity. For Rancière, politics is aesthetics in as much as the contestation of the right to speech involves the assertion of a visible body that demands to be included
... ands to be included in the count. I will proceed with the discussion by first explicating the general idea of aesthetics and how it is related to politics in Rancière's oeuvre. Then I will specifically address the question of political subjectivity in Rancière's work in relation to aesthetics and politics by discussing the anonymous subject in aesthetic modernity. In doing this, I aim to present an alternative view of politics as focused on embodied political subjects and find the use of bodies for political contestations in both its active and passive form. Using the work of Rancière, I emphasise that political activity can be based on the body's experiences of suffering and emotions. These experiences in turn provide us with a rich material for reflection about what politics can mean today.