The Emancipated Spectator

Author(s): Jacques Ranciere


In this title, the foremost philosopher of art argues for a new politics of seeing. The role of the viewer in art and film theory revolves around a theatrical concept of the spectacle. The masses subjected to the society of spectacle have traditionally been seen as aesthetically and politically passive - in response, both artists and thinkers have sought to transform the spectator into an active agent and the spectacle into a performance. In this follow-up to the acclaimed "The Future of the Image", Ranciere takes a radically different approach to this attempted emancipation. Beginning by asking exactly what we mean by political art or the politics of art, he goes on to look at what the tradition of critical art, and the desire to insert art into life, has achieved. Has the militant critique of the consumption of images and commodities become, instead, a melancholic affirmation of their omnipotence?


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"Fruitful - persuasive argument is fleshed out through close readings of art, photography, literature." Steven Poole, Guardian "Ranciere's work is to insist that artworks by their nature, present what is possible, rather than actual, in human subjectivity." JJ Charlesworth, Art Review "His art lies in the rigor of his argument - its careful, precise unfolding - and at the same time not treating his reader, whether university professor or unemployed actress, as an imbecile." Kristin Ross

Jacques Ranciere is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Paris VIII. His books include The Future of the Image, Hatred of Democracy and On the Shores of Politics (all from Verso), The Politics of Aesthetics, Short Voyages to the Land of the People and The Nights of Labor.

General Fields

  • : 9781844673438
  • : Verso Books
  • : Verso Books
  • : November 2009
  • : 196mm X 127mm X 17mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : 128
  • : Hardback
  • : Jacques Ranciere