Arendt Hannah, “Philosophy and Politics,” Social Research
57 (1990): 73–103, at 96;
Irigaray Luce, The Forgetting of Air in Martin Heidegger (Austin: Texas University Press, 1999), 91
Cavarero Adriana, For More Than One Voice: Toward a Philosophy of Vocal Expression (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2005), 40
Rokem Freddie, “Voices and Visions in Fingal's Cave: Plato and Strindberg,” in The International Strindberg, ed. Stenport Anna Westerstahl (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 2012), 127–44, at 133.
Republic, trans. Reeve C. D. C. (Indianapolis: Hackett, 2004), 208 (515a5–515b5).
Heidegger Martin, The Essence of Truth (New York: Continuum, 2002).
Puchner Martin, The Drama of Ideas: Platonic Provocations in Theater and Philosophy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010).
6. Plato, 52–5 (373b1–376b1).
Arendt Hannah, The Human Condition (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1998), 221–30; and
Between Past and Future (New York: Penguin, 2006), 91–141
Badiou Alain, “The Lessons of Jacques Rancière: Knowledge and Power after the Storm,” trans. Tho Tzuchien, in Jacques Rancière: History, Politics, Aesthetics, ed. Rockhill Gabriel and Watts Philip (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2009), 30–54, at 37–8.
9. In fact, one could even argue that Plato works, for the various disagreements between Badiou and Rancière apropos the relationship between philosophy and politics, as some kind of aggregative metaphor. Nowhere is this more visible than in their mutual disagreement vis-à-vis the reading of their more direct intellectual father figure, Louis Althusser. As happens with Plato, whereas Badiou praises Althusser for having arrived at a conception of subjectivity without a subject (
Badiou Alain, Metapolitics, trans. Barker Jason [New York: Verso, 2011], 64), which is at the heart of Althusser's theory of interpellation, Rancière criticizes, since the publication of
La Leçon d'Althusser (Paris: Gallimard, 2000), the authoritarian character of Althusser's theoreticism, which he links to the reactionary political authority of the French Communist Party, and even dismisses Althusser's theory of interpellation for its metaphysical assumptions (
Rancière Jacques, Dissensus: On Politics and Aesthetics, ed. and trans. Corcoran Steven [New York: Bloomsbury, 2013], 37). In synthesis, Rancière's break with the Schoolmaster leaves no substitute standing; Badiou's break delivers him from one schoolmaster to another, from Althusser to Lacan in a metonymic substitution of schoolmaster Plato.
Rancière Jacques, The Emancipated Spectator, trans. Elliott Gregory (New York: Verso, 2011), 17–18
Marx Karl, Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, vol. 1, pt. 1: The Process of Production of Capital (New York: Penguin Classics, 1990), 163
Rancière Jacques, Proletarian Nights: The Worker's Dream in Nineteenth Century France, trans. Drury John (New York: Verso, 2012), Rancière explores the correspondence among locksmiths, tailors, shoemakers, and typographers from the nineteenth century. From the joiner/floor layer Gabriel Gauny to the Christian Socialists of L'Ateleier and the Icarian communities in the United States, Rancière follows the workers’ dreams of a fraternal community, their discussions of poetry, art, and their imagination of a communist utopia, expressing their irreducibility to a working class in socioeconomic terms. In their nightly correspondence, Rancière found that workers already engaged in the kind of activities that were presumably reserved for those who did not “belong” to the cave.
Rancière Jacques, Disagreement: Politics and Philosophy, trans. Rose Julie (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1999); and
Badiou Alain, The Communist Hypothesis, trans. Macey David and Corcoran Steve (New York: Verso, 2015). (For “an-archy,” see Rancière, Dissensus, 34.) Badiou's resignification of communism and Rancière's resignification of democracy are driven by the same commitment to equality as the defining feature of the emancipatory horizon that I call here the axiom of equality. Hence, Badiou conceives of communism in the sense of Babeuf's mid-1790s Society of Equals, and cites Rancière favorably, claiming that “emancipatory politics is essentially the politics of the anonymous masses; it is the victory of those with no names, of those who are held in a state of colossal insignificance by the State”;
Badiou Alain, “The Idea of Communism,” In The Idea of Communism, ed. Douzinas Costas and Žižek Slavoj (New York: Verso, 2010), 1–14, at 9–10. Rancière also agrees with Badiou's definition of communism in L'Humanité as “a form of universality constructed by those practices [of emancipation]”; Jacques Rancière, “Communists without Communism?,” in Idea of Communism, 167–78, at 167. And yet, for Rancière's “attempt to salvage the word ‘democracy,’” Badiou interjects, “a detour through the Idea of communism is unavoidable” (Badiou, Communist Hypothesis, 249 n. 10). This is a detour to which Rancière seems to have conceded when he claimed that “the future of emancipation”—understood as “the autonomous growth of the space of the common created by the free association of men and women implementing the egalitarian principle”—should probably be called communism and not democracy (Rancière, “Communists without Communism?,” 176).
Rancière Jacques, Moments Politiques, trans. Foster Mary (New York: Seven Stories Press, 2014), 145
15. Badiou, Metapolitics, 141–2.
16. My reading is influenced by Bonnie Honig's reception of James Porter's distinction between classicism—an empty aesthetic claim to universality—and classicization—an interpretative technique that, while focused on the present, “turns for understanding to ancient circumstances, scripts, or images for analogies that might illuminate our condition or even mirror our circumstances”;
Honig Bonnie, Antigone Interrupted (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 32
Porter James, “Feeling Classical: Classicism and Ancient Literary Criticism,” in Classical Pasts: The Classical Tradition of Greece and Rome, ed. Porter James (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2006), 301–52. According to Honig, “classicization that treats the classical past as alien and resistant to appropriation” may prove “more instructive … than the sort that seeks and finds our stammering selves in the mirror” (32). I want to keep the conditions of production of Plato's text alive because another mirror—what
Macherey Pierre adequately calls a “broken mirror” (A Theory of Literary Production [New York: Routledge, 2006], 134–50; quote at 135)—survives in this very different appropriation of the text's foreignness for a more troubling contemporaneity of Plato's allegories.
Fine Gail, “Knowledge and Belief in Republic V–VII,” in Companions to Ancient Thought I: Epistemology, ed. Everson Steven (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), 85–115
Barney Rachel, “
Eros and Necessity in the Ascent from the Cave,” Ancient Philosophy
28.2 (2008): 357–72.
Strauss Leo, The City and Man (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1964);
Bloom Allan, The Republic of Plato (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1968); and
Burnyeat Myles, “Culture and Society in Plato's Republic,” Tanner Lectures on Human Values
20 (1999): 215–324
Wilderbing James, “Prisoners and Puppets in the Cave,” Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy
27 (2004): 117–39.
Chanter Tina, Whose Antigone? The Tragic Marginalization of Slavery (New York: SUNY Press, 2011); and Cynthia Patterson, “Metaphors of Body and Soul in the Phaedo,” paper presented at a workshop on Plato's Phaedo at Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass., 30–31 October 2015. For alternative associations of the cave to other material sites, see
Irigaray Luce, Speculum of the Other Women (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1985); and
Ustinova Yulia, Caves and the Ancient Greek Mind: Descending Underground in the Search for Ultimate Truth (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009).
21. See Plato, 119 (433d1);
Morrow Glenn R., Plato's Law of Slavery in Its Relation to Greek Law (Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 1939); and
Vlastos Gregory, “Slavery in Plato's Thought,” Philosophical Review
50.3 (1941): 289–304
Rancière Jacques, The Flesh of Words: The Politics of Writing, trans. Mandell Charlotte (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2004).
23. Rancière, Emancipated Spectator, 4–5.
Rancière Jacques, The Ignorant Schoolmaster: Five Lessons in Intellectual Emancipation, trans. Ross Kristin (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1991).
26. Peter Hallward summarizes this isomorphic relationship between theatre and politics, à la Rancière, as leaving the provisional status of the actor in the same plane of contingency: “every thinking has its stage or scène, every thinker ‘plays’ or acts in the theatrical sense. Every political subject is first and foremost ‘a sort of local and provisional theatrical configuration’”;
Hallward Peter, “Staging Equality: Rancière's Theatrocracy and the Limits of Anarchic Equality,” in Jacques Rancière: History, Politics, Aesthetics, ed. Rockhill Gabriel and Watts Philip (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2009), 140–57, at 141. For an analysis of theatricality in Rancière see
Parker Andrew, “Mimesis and the Division of Labor,” introduction to The Philosopher and His Poor, by Rancière Jacques (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2003), ix–xx
. For a critique of the link that Rancière establishes between the theatre and democracy, see
Halpern Richard, “Theater and Democratic Thought: Arendt to Rancière,” Critical Inquiry
37.3 (2011): 545–72. I thank one of the anonymous reviewers of this essay for leading me toward these excellent references.
Badiou Alain, “Rhapsody for the Theatre,” Theatre Survey
49.2 (2008): 187–238
28. Badiou, Metapolitics, 23.
Rancière Jacques, On the Shores of Politics (New York: Verso, 1995), 32–3, quote at 33.
31. Rancière, Dissensus, 36–42.
32. Rancière, Emancipated Spectator, 13.
33. Badiou, “Rhapsody for the Theatre,” 209. Italics his.
Marx Karl and Engels Friedrich, “Manifesto of the Communist Party,” in The Marx-Engels Reader: Second Edition, ed. Tucker Robert C. (New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company, 1978), 473–500, at 475; cited in
Badiou Alain, Plato's “Republic”: A Dialogue in 16 Chapters, trans. Spitzer Susan (New York: Columbia University Press, 2012), 275
Rancière Jacques, Hatred of Democracy, trans. Corcoran Steve (New York: Verso, 2014), 17
35. Rancière, Disagreement, 30.
36. Plato, 99 (414c5). In an excellent essay on the question of slavery in Plato's Republic, Gregory Vlastos highlights the passage at 433d (using a different edition than Reeve's shown here) as conclusive evidence that Plato did contemplate slavery as part of the structure of his utopian polis: “Or is what most contributes to making it good the fact that every child, woman, slave, free person, craftsman, ruler, and subject each does his own work and does not meddle with what is not?” (Plato, 119).
Vlastos Gregory, “Does Slavery Exist in Plato's Philosophy?,” Classical Philology
63.4 (1968): 291–5, at 294. It is worth noting that it is the governing logic of this passage, the arithmetic restriction of one body to one role, that runs throughout Rancière's constant invocation of Plato as the mega-architect of the police order. I am, however, less interested in the philological dispute over Plato's commitments to slavery, in which some participants claim Plato's law of slavery to be harsher than any known slave legislation of classical antiquity (see Morrow, 126). Like Rancière, I am not interested in defending Plato as an emancipatory author. And yet, like Badiou, I am interested in the ways in which his allegories can be mobilized for emancipatory purposes, precisely by attending to those historical contexts (ancient and contemporary) that, despite their strong intertextual resonances with the theatrical images composed in the dialogue, never enter the canonical text.
Nehamas Alexander, The Art of Living: Socratic Reflections from Plato to Foucault (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998), 35
38. Plato, 186–7 (493a10–493c3).
39. Gorgias, cited in
Critchley Simon and Webster Jamieson, Stay, Illusion! The Hamlet Doctrine (New York: Vintage Books, 2014), 16
Rancière Jacques, Aisthesis: Scenes from the Aesthetic Regime of Art, trans. Paul Zakir (New York: Verso, 2013).
41. Plato, 208 (515a4–5).
42. Critchley and Webster, 60.
43. Although the notion of the Global South uses a geographical metaphor to describe a locus of knowledge production, it is ultimately irreducible to definite territorial demarcations. Rather, the Global South should be understood as an epistemological and political project that advocates for equality in the global production of knowledge; a claim to equality that confronts the silent privilege given to the Euro-American academy by drawing from histories and subject positions that trouble and complicate this imaginary circumscription. See
Levander Caroline and Mignolo Walter, “Introduction: The Global South and World Dis/Order,” Global South
5.1 (2011): 1–11
Harries Martin, Scare Quotes from Shakespeare: Marx, Keynes, and the Language of Reenchantment (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2000), 91
Agamben Giorgio, Nudities (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2011), 13
Marx Karl, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte ( New York: International Publishers, 2004), 16
48. Susan Buck-Morss, “The Second Time as Farce … Historical Pragmatics and the Untimely Present,” in Idea of Communism, 67–80, at 78. Italics hers.
Buck-Morss Susan, Hegel, Haiti, and Universal History (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2009).
50. Badiou, “Idea of Communism,” 11.
Mignolo Walter, The Darker Side of Western Modernity: Global Futures, Decolonial Options (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2011).
52. Buck-Morss, “Second Time,” 79.
54. Hence, after decades of decolonial critique against the productive and exclusive power of the Eurocentric gaze, the romantic portrayal of the “primitive people,” later called “savages” too, in Badiou's Republic, passes unchallenged, just to mention one of several examples in that text. Badiou, Plato's “Republic,” 68.
55. Rancière, Hatred of Democracy, 61.
56. Rancière, Dissensus, 33. On the relationship between the demos and the proletariat see Rancière, Disagreement, 18.
57. Rancière, Disagreement, 8.
McClintock Anne, Imperial Leather: Race, Gender and Sexuality in the Colonial Contest (New York: Routledge, 1995); Aníbal Quijano, “Qué tal Raza!,” paper presented at the conference organized by the Coloniality Working Group, at SUNY–Binghamton in New York, 2000; and
Wynter Sylvia, “Unsettling the Coloniality of Being/Power/Truth/Freedom: Towards the Human, after Man, Its Overrepresentation—An Argument,” New Centennial Review
3.3 (2003): 257–337
59. Kenneth Reinhard, “Introduction: Badiou's Sublime Translation of the Republic,” introduction to Badiou, Plato's “Republic,” vii–xxiii, at xi–xii. Italics his.
Kant Immanuel, “Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics” with Selections from the “Critique of Pure Reason,” ed. Hatfield Gary (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), §58 at 108.
Mitchell Timothy, Carbon Democracy: Political Power in the Age of Oil (New York: Verso, 2011).
Sassen Saskia, “At the Systemic Edge: Expulsions,” in Resisting Biopolitics: Philosophical, Political, and Performative Strategies, ed. Wilmer S. E. and Žukauskaitė Audronė (New York: Routledge, 2015), 219–35, at 227.
Sassen Saskia, Expulsions: Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2014).
Goldhill Simon, “The Audience of Athenian Tragedy,” in The Cambridge Companion to Greek Tragedy, ed. Easterling P. E. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 54–68, at 60–5.
65. For a sociological analysis of Athenian tragedy see
Hall Edith, Inventing the Barbarian: Greek Self-Definition through Tragedy (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991); and edith Hall, “The Sociology of Athenian Tragedy,” in Cambridge Companion to Greek Tragedy, 93–126.
Jones A. H. M., Athenian Democracy (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986), 17
Ibid., 14. For an analysis of slavery in antiquity and the extensive employment of slaves in the mines see
Isaac Benjamin, The Invention of Racism in Classical Antiquity (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2004); and
Dubois Page, Slavery: Antiquity and Its Legacy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009).
Arruzza Cinzia, “The Private and the Common in Plato's Republic,” History of Political Thought
32.2 (2011): 215–33; quote at 220.
Dubois Page, Torture and Truth: The New Ancient World (New York: Routledge, 1991).