Ten theses on Politics (J. Ranciere)

Thesis 1:

Politics is not the exercise of power. Politics ought to be defined on its own terms, as a mode of acting put into practice by a specific kind of subject and deriving from a particular form of reason. It is the political relationship that allows one to think the possibility of a political subject(ivity) [le sujet politique],3 not the other way around.

Thesis 2:

What is proper to politics is the existence of a subject defined by its participation in contrarieties. Politics is a paradoxical form of action.

Thesis 3:

Politics is a specific rupture in the logic of arche. It does not simply presuppose the rupture of the 'normal' distribution of  positions  between  the  one  who exercises  power and  the one subject to it. It also requires a rupture in the idea that there are dispositions 'proper' to such classifications.

Thesis 4:

Democracy is not a political regime. Insofar as it is a rupture in the logic of arche - that is, in the anticipation of rule in the disposition for it - democracy is the regime of politics in the form of a relationship defining a specific subject.

Thesis 5:

The 'people' that is the subject of democracy - and thus the principal subject of politics - is not the collection of members in a community, or the laboring classes of the population. It is the supplementary part, in relation to any counting of parts of the population that makes it possible to identify 'the part of those who have no-part'[le compte des incomptés]8  with the whole of the community.

Thesis 6:

If politics is the outline of a vanishing difference, with the distribution of social parts and
shares,  then  it  follows that  its  existence is  in  no  way  necessary,  but  that  it  occurs  as  a provisional accident in the history of the forms of domination. It also follows from this that political litigiousness has as its essential object the very existence of politics.

Thesis 7:

Politics is specifically opposed to the police. The police is a ‘partition of the sensible’ [le partage du sensible] whose principle is the absence of a void and of a supplement.

Thesis 8:

The principal function of politics is the configuration of its proper space. It is to disclose the world of its subjects and its operations.  The essence of politics is  the  manifestation  of dissensus, as the presence of two worlds in one.12

Thesis 9:

Inasmuch as what is proper to 'political philosophy' is to ground political action in a specific mode of being, so is it the case that 'political philosophy' effaces the litigiousness constitutive of politics. It is in its very description of the world of politics that philosophy effects this effacement. Moreover, its effectiveness is perpetuated through to the non-philosophical or anti-philosophical description of the world.

Thesis 10:

The 'end of politics' and the 'return of politics' are two complementary ways of cancelling out politics in the simple relationship between a  state  of  the  social  and  a  state  of  statist apparatuses. 'Consensus' is the vulgar name given to this cancellation.

Fragmentos de: Jacques Ranciere “Ten theses on politics’ in 5(3) [2001] Theory and Event pp 1-10.

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