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The political subject and its experiences: an alternative reading of Rancière on political subjectivity
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 00:47 authored by Darlene O. Demandante
This thesis aims to outline a rich account of the notion of political subjectivity using the work of Jacques Rancière as its main reference. I anchor my research question on Rancière’s work because he is one of the contemporary political philosophers whose theory of politics depends most significantly on a conception of the political subject. In fact, in his own theory, there is a struggle and tension about what exactly constitutes a political subject. I attempt to show that the way Rancière conceptualized his notion of political subjectivity, including its hesitations, provides invaluable material for reflection on how we should understand politics at present and on how we should think of our specific roles as political subjects. I suggest a reading of Rancière that is focused on the “experiences” of the subject of politics. This alternative reading proposes that underneath the famous model presented in Disagreement, which is premised on a formal theory of the subject and the principle of the equality of intelligence, there lies a thick layer of subjective experiences. This is a reading of Rancière’s work, which has not received substantial attention among critics. I focus on all the passages in Rancière’s writings that point toward a theory of political action, which emphasizes embodied experiences, feelings, and dreams as the beginning of politics.