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Hatred of Democracy.

Jacques Ranciere

Verso, 2006

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TAKE THIS slim volume as being a distillation of Ranciere's seminal work. Disagreement.- Politics and Philosophy (1998). Thankfully none of the elegant venom peculiar to political essayists hailing from La Republique is lost in translation. At first blush, though, the book has a bit of a narrow purchase: Ranciere takes aim at French intellectuals who critique democratic egalitarianism for deifying the atomized individual, and regard it in turn as giving rise to the instrumental rationality and consumerism that characterize the modern liberal democratic state. Instead he asserts a powerful defense of the democratic ideal. As he writes, "democracy is not a form of state ... it is the public activity that counteracts the tendency of every State to monopolize and depoliticize the public sphere," But if we on the other side of the Atlantic are put off-balance by his Continental pedigree, at least insulated from the specifics of the French republicanism he addresses, Ran-sre's general thrust worth chewing over (and sure to cause much rancor within the Left).

-D.R.

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Publication:Canadian Dimension
Article Type:Book review
Date:May 1, 2011
Words:175
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