Rancière and Aristotle: Parapolitics, Part-y Politics and the Institution of Perpetual Politics

Journal for Speculative Philosophy 26 (4):627-646 (2012)
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This article addresses Rancière’s critique of Aristotle’s political theory as parapolitics in order to show that Aristotle is a resource for developing an inclusionary notion of political community. Rancière argues that Aristotle attempts to cut off politics and merely police (maintain) the community by eliminating the political claim of the poor by including it. I respond to three critiques that Rancière makes of Aristotle: that he ends the political dispute by including the demos in the government; that he includes the free masses only incidentally because, by chance, the rule is political, not based on mastery; and that he attempts to close off politics by determining in advance what speech counts as speech. I argue that Aristotle attempts to institute this contest by accepting the incommensurable claims of arithmetic and geometric equality. Aristotle puts this conflict at the root of political life in such a way that serves Rancière’s larger project of perpetuating politics.
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