‘The Politics of Aesthetics: The Distribution of the Sensible’ by Jacques Rancière

Published by Continuum in 2004.

(.pdf & .epub, two editions)

The Politics of Aesthetics rethinks the relationship between art and politics outside of the models established by the Marxist tradition, the Frankfurt School, and the more recent contributions made by the post-structuralists. Reclaiming aesthetics from the narrow confines it is often reduced to, Jacques Rancière reveals its intrinsic link to politics by analyzing 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 series of interlinked 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, it includes incisive analyses of the uses and abuses of the concept of modernity, the relationship between art and mechanical reproduction, the logic of facts and fiction in history, the positive contradiction at work in modern literature, and the notion of politicized art.

In addition to an English translation of Jacques Rancière’s Le Partage du sensible, the current edition also includes an introduction to Rancière’s work by Gabriel Rockhill, an afterword by Slavoj Žižek, an interview for the English edition, a glossary of technical terms, and an extensive bibliography.

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