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Volume 15, Issue 2, Fall/Automne 2011

Gabriel Rockhill
Pages 28-56

Rancière’s Productive Contradictions
From the Politics of Aesthetics to the Social Politicity of Artistic Practice

This article explores the force and limitations of Jacques Rancière’s novel attempt to rethink the relationship between aesthetics and politics. In particular, it unravels the paradoxical threads of the fundamental contradiction between two of his steadfast claims: (1) art and politics are consubstantial, and (2) art and politics never truly merge. In taking Rancière to task on this point, the primary objective of this article is to work through the nuances of his project and foreground the problems inherent therein in order to break with the “talisman complex” and the “ontological illusion” of the politics of aesthetics in the name of a new understanding of the social politicity of artistic practices.