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Ranciere Against the Cuts: Activist Demands are Aesthetic

By Steve A. Klee

Abstract

This article seeks to challenge and in so doing recalibrate Jacques Rancière’s political aesthetics, my motivation to do so springs from the recognition that his theory has ‘disciplinary’ effects. Specifically I object to the way that artistic commitment is traduced and, ultimately, excluded from his formula of art-politics. I attempt to stretch Rancière’s definition of aesthetic experience so to accommodate the art practice of Agitprop. My claim is that any of the materials or actions produced by a genuinely egalitarian activist group can be strategically read as exhibiting aesthetic properties. Perhaps counter-intuitively the definition of egalitarian politics is drawn from Rancière too. I therefore use one part of his philosophical system to expose what I see as the unnecessary restrictiveness of another. My examples are drawn from the collective practice of Arts against Cuts which formed part of the broad UK anti-austerity activism of winter and spring 2010/11

Topics: BH, JC, N1
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Year: 2013
OAI identifier: oai:kar.kent.ac.uk:31647
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