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The Politics of Aesthetics: The Distribution of the Sensible [Paperback]

Jacques Ranciere , Gabriel Rockhill

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Book Description

1 May 2006
The Politics of Aesthetics rethinks the relationship between art and politics, reclaiming "aesthetics" from the narrow confines it is often reduced to. Jacques Rancière reveals its intrinsic link to politics by analysing what they both have in common: the delimitation of the visible and the invisible, the audible and the inaudible, the thinkable and the unthinkable, the possible and the impossible. 

Presented as a set of inter-linked interviews, The Politics of Aesthetics provides the most comprehensive introduction to Rancière's work to date, ranging across the history of art and politics from the Greek polis to the aesthetic revolution of the modern age.

Already translated into five languages, this English edition of The Politics of Aesthetics includes a new afterword by Slavoj Zizek, an interview for the English edition, a glossary of technical terms and an extensive bibliography.

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"'Locating the political significance of art has not only gone out of fashion, it has in recent years become a source of embarrassment. No one has argued against this repression with more precision, nuance, and undeniable force than Jacques Ranciere... This book, with an emphatic "Afterword" by Zizek, provides a riveting and compelling outline of the central elements of Ranciere's politics of aesthetics and its relation to his demanding rethinking of the political.' J.M. Bernstein, New School for Social Research 'A benchmark, this compact book shows why Ranciere is one of the most compelling thinkers and writers in France since Michel Foucault and Gilles Deleuze.' Tom Conley, Harvard University 'This is possibly the most important essay, despite its length, since Adorno's Aesthetic Theory.' Adrian Rifkin, Professor of Visual Culture, Middlesex"

About the Author

Jacques Ranciere is Professor of Aesthetics at the University of Paris VIII (St Denis) and a former student of Louis Althusser. His translated works include The Nights of Labour, The Ignorant Schoolmaster, The Names of History and Disagreement.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.2 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Introduction 25 July 2011
By Steiner - Published on Amazon.com
This brief collection of Ranciere's corpus gives the reader a picture of his complex reworking of the logic of historical representations of art and politics. Ranciere is known for his reformulation of the great transitions in the history of art, to "regimes of historicity." In particular, his reflections on the "aesthetic regime" of art are truly incisive reconfigurations of politics-aesthetics in terms of what he calls the "distribution of the sensible." Additionally, the translator has provided a helpful appendix explaining Ranciere's terminology. This text is a very good place to start for readers who are new to his work.
23 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blinging It Post Althusserian Marxist-Structuralist Style!!! 12 Sep 2005
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
I have found this book entirely engrossing, despite some of the author's arcane writing style. The subtitle, The Distribution of the Sensible, is the major focus of the book,which is central to the author's ouevre. I find instances where he is building on both the notions of Foucault's power and knowledge equations of disciplinary discourse and Weber's processes of rationalization. The analysis of history as a possible fiction narrative is unique and erudite, as is his rethinking of Benjamin's "aura" in the arts as a distinction between mimesis and aesthetic forms of artistic production, which was a rethinking of Hegel's "Spirit". I dig it.
0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The politics of Aesthetics 30 Jan 2013
By Geraldo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I already received and this product is very good. I suggest for all people interest in Brecht and politics arts and philosophy
11 of 29 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Burdensome words to contribute to fix the break between politics and aesthetics 15 Oct 2009
By Daniel Lobo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The volume tries to capture a snapshot of Ranciere's thought and claim it as milestone for English reading audiences. It falls short on a few counts, from translation to clarity, from background to accessibility, to make it anything but novel.

Unfortunately what Ranciere sets to do, denouncing in part the manufactured and false divide between aesthetics and politics, is a very important aspect of contemporary culture, and despite its obvious constructions for many, plenty of mainstream conceptions still play with that divide at the heart of how they present their activity. However, not only Ranciere's discourse seems obscure and convoluted during most of its length but the fact that he is making any meaningful contribution, it's doubtful at best.

The so-called "rethink" rests on a close knitted terminology that Ranciere has made up to develop his train of though, hides plenty of references and precedents, and should be better called reinvention rather than "rethinking". If one does not embed entirely the reading within his terminology, one may quickly realize the simplification of terms he falls commonly into, or ignoring entirely significant contributions that have explored in a much more inviting and meaningful terms concepts that he picks ups rhetorically ad nauseam.

This might be significant for some in a close follow-ship of Ranciere, the way his thought was developed, or the way one needs to admire and justify the professorship he held before his retirement, which carries the title of the volume.

The book comes adorned with a pompous translator preface and introduction and a cumbersome and often uncomfortably translated series of chapters slated in a semi-false interview structure to unveil topics of Raunciere's work. The volume also includes a glossary of "technical terms", which comes to mean the often self referential lingo used by Ranciere to offer his circular work, and if you want to be game, that is where one might want to start the reading.
32 of 71 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting essays badly translated. 5 Jun 2007
By T. Porges - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This sort of book is always a pig in a poke and the pig is the translation. the translater here, one Gabriel Rockhill, is either very badly edited by Continuum (always possible) or is a dreadful writer. If you want an introduction to Ranciere, read _The Ignorant Schoolmaster_, which is translated by kristin Ross. I can't imagine why Continuum put out such a shoddily edited book, except maybe they figured, cynically, it would be read by art students, on whom actual prose is wasted.

If you're in art school, you're already wasting thousands on a useless degree, but here is sixteen dollars that you can save. Don't buy this book.
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