Hatred of Democracy

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Verso, 2006 - Philosophy - 106 pages
Jacques Ranciere was a student of Althusser before he famously turned against his mentor; now, he's regarded as one of the major thinkers of our age. In his new book, he examines how the West can no longer simply extol the virtues of democracy by contrasting it with the horrors of totalitarianism.

As certain governments are exporting democracy by brute force, and a reactionary strand in mainstream political opinion is willing to abandon civil liberties and destroy collective values of equality, Ranciere explains how democracy—government by all—attacks any form of power based on the superiority of an elite. Hence the fear, and consequently the hatred, of democracy amongst the new ruling class.

In a compelling and timely analysis, Hatred of Democracy rediscovers the ever-new and subversive power of the democratic idea.

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Therein lies the scandal: the scandal for well-to-do people unable to accept that their birth, their age, or their science has to bow before the law of chance; scandal too for those men of God who ... Read full review

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Rancière produces a theory of democracy that is both constraining and destabilizing. He scathingly counters critics of the unrestrained liberty of democratic politics, of political action without any claim to legitimacy. Rancière claims that those who seek to foundationalize politics in ethics or reason are in fact afraid of unpredictable democracy and if they seek to maintain an illusory authority, then perhaps they should be. 


Politics or the Lost Shepherd
Democracy Republic Representation

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About the author (2006)

Jacques Rancière is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Paris-VIII. His books include The Politics of Aesthetics, On the Shores of Politics, Short Voyages to the Land of the People, The Nights of Labor, Staging the People, and The Emancipated Spectator.

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