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The Philosopher and His Poor
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The Philosopher and His Poor

4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  36 ratings  ·  4 reviews
What has philosophy to do with the poor? If, as has often been supposed, the poor have no time for philosophy, then why have philosophers always made time for them? Why is the history of philosophy—from Plato to Karl Marx to Jean-Paul Sartre to Pierre Bourdieu—the history of so many figures of the poor: plebes, men of iron, the demos, artisans, common people, proletarians, ...more
Paperback, 280 pages
Published April 23rd 2004 by Duke University Press Books (first published January 1st 1983)
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A hard book to rate. He goes after Plato, and who minds that? Plato's a pretty easy target. I was a bit bored. And then he goes after Marx. And at first I was chuckling to myself, Ranciere hits those vulnerable points like only a (former) Marixist can, and we agree on the vulnerable points. "The Manifesto is an act of faith in the suicide of the bourgeoisie." Not the power of the proletariat which does not yet exist, but will. We just have to wait until the heaving, faceless, almost thoughtless ...more
Stefan Szczelkun
In 'The Philosopher and His Poor' the core argument revolves around the question of what assigns the philosopher and the artisan to their mutually exclusive roles in the order of power. For Rancière the 'philosopher' stands for any thinker and writer legitimated by established Society, as well as the canon forming literary elite. The artisan is a figure that stands for any working class person who relishes freedom to think and act. The Shoemaker is his archetypal worker, who has in particular be ...more
How does philosophy deal with the worker, the proletariat? Indeed, this incision is the very laceration caused philosophy itself. Since Plato and through to Marx and Sartre, philosophy has taken itself up to define the possibilities of worker, and come to categorize them, dividing the workers among themselves, and from the artisans and the poets, while also taking particular cognizance of the shoe-maker (ubiquitous in philosophy) from the carpenter (the master geometer). Above all, philosophy ha ...more
I suppose I found this work somewhat disappointing. I was enthralled by the book's (supposed) premise, but I found Ranciere's writing and argument here decidedly less interesting (and far more difficult!) than in the other works of his I'm familiar with (ie, On the Shores of Politics and Hatred of Democracy).
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Jacques Rancière (born Algiers, 1940) is a French philosopher and Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Paris (St. Denis) who came to prominence when he co-authored Reading Capital (1968), with the Marxist philosopher Louis Althusser.

Rancière contributed to the influential volume Reading "Capital" (though his contribution is not contained in the partial English translation) before
More about Jacques Rancière...
The Politics of Aesthetics The Ignorant Schoolmaster: Five Lessons in Intellectual Emancipation The Emancipated Spectator Hatred of Democracy The Future of the Image

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