This book traces the emergence of Ranciere's thought over the last forty-five years and situates it in the diverse intellectual contexts in which it intervenes. Beginning with his egalitarian critique of his former teacher Louis Althusser, the book tracks the subsequent elaboration of Ranciere's highly original conception of equality. This approach reveals that a grasp of his early archival and historiographical work is vital for a full understanding both of his later politics and his ongoing investigation of art and aesthetics.
Along the way, this book explains and analyses key terms in Ranciere's very distinctive philosophical lexicon, including the 'police' order, 'disagreement', 'political subjectivation', 'literarity', the 'part which has no part', the 'regimes of art' and 'the distribution of the sensory'.
This book argues that Ranciere's work sets a new standard in contestatory critique and concludes by reflecting on the philosophical and policy implications of his singular project.