Active Equality in Contemporary Politics

Todd May

in The Political Thought of Jacques Rancière

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print June 2008 | ISBN: 9780748635320
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671922 | DOI:
Active Equality in Contemporary Politics

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This chapter turns toward the political situation, asking what contribution this new idea of political equality can make in thinking about and acting in the state of the current world. The theory of democratic politics turns its back on those who benefit from the inequalities of the police order. Distributive theories of justice can provide people nothing more than the obligations of others. Passivity, even when it is passive equality, is a thin reed upon which to balance the prospect of hope. Humanitarian assistance is profoundly apolitical. It is a counter-movement to democratic politics. Democratic politics is a recipe for disinvestment. Rancière's thought provides a sketch of a politics that responds to the passivity of the current politics. Thought alone does not organize politics, but politics without thought is as dangerous an endeavor as can be imagined.

Keywords: political equality; democratic politics; justice; passivity; Rancière; police order

Chapter.  20491 words. 

Subjects: Social and Political Philosophy

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