The Intellectual and His People: Staging the People Volume 2

Rethinking the role of the radical public intellectual.
Following the previous volume of essays by Jacques Rancière from the 1970s, Staging the People: The Proletarian and His Double, this second collection focuses on the ways in which radical philosophers understand the people they profess to speak for. The Intellectual and His People engages in an incisive and original way with current political and cultural issues, including the “discovery” of totalitarianism by the “new philosophers,” the relationship of Sartre and Foucault to popular struggles, nostalgia for the ebbing world of the factory, the slippage of the artistic avant-garde into defending corporate privilege, and the ambiguous sociological critique of Pierre Bourdieu. As ever, Rancière challenges all patterns of thought in which one-time radicalism has become empty convention.


  • “In the face of impossible attempts to proceed with progressive ideas within the terms of postmodernist discourse, Rancière shows a way out of the malaise.”
  • “Rancière’s writings offer one of the few consistent conceptualizations of how we are to continue to resist.”
  • “This fascinating collection stands as an update to a 1970s collection of his, Staging the People: The Proletarian and his Doubles.”


  • 'Response to Rancière'

    Writer and psychoanalyst Jacques-Alain Miller responds to Jacques Rancière’s interview on ‘The Front National’s useful idiots’ and below this we publish Rancière's riposte.


    Continue Reading

  • Jacques Rancière: The Front National’s useful idiots

    According to the philosopher Jacques Rancière, a number of so-called French ‘republican’ intellectuals have been opening the door to the Front National for some time now. In an interview with Éric Aeschimannm, Rancière shows how universalist values have been perverted to the benefit of xenophobic discourse.


    Continue Reading

  • How can Democracy be Rejuvenated? Ideas for Transforming a Still-Oligarchic Society

    Democratic malaise, political disarray and panic: a year after Francois Hollande’s election, things aren’t looking good. Jacques Rancière and Pierre Rosanvallon, two major thinkers and theorists of democracy, attempt to understand our moral and political predicament.

    From the 7 May 2013 print edition of Le Monde

    Jacques Rancière is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Paris-VIII. His books include On the Shores of PoliticsShort Voyages to the Land of the PeopleThe Nights of LaborStaging the People, and The Emancipated Spectator. His next book, Aisthesis, is out in June by Verso.

    Pierre Rosanvallon 
    is a French center-left thinker, previously involved with François Furer in the Fondation Saint-Simon. His books in English include, amongst others, Democratic Legitimacy: Impartiality, Reflexivity, ProximityDemocracy Past and Future; and The Demands of Liberty. In 2002 he founded the République des Idées. 

    How did you make democracy and equality the central axes of your political concerns, inquiries and research ?

    Pierre Rosanvallon: I became a full timer for the CFDT [union federation] when I finished at the HEC [business school] just after May ’68. At that time I began to read an enormous amount on the history of the workers’ movement. I had made contact with a publisher, Léon Centner, who had issued an impressive collection of hundreds of pamphlets on the building of the workers’ movement, Les Révolutions du XIXe siècle [‘The Revolutions of the Nineteenth Century’] in 48 volumes. Having got the CFDT to buy the lot, I dived into reading them. From that point on, I knew well that it is impossible to understand the tasks of the present – the project of self-management then being central – without a long-term perspective on the questions in hand. I wanted, besides, to understand the disorderly phenomena of democracy. To know why the structures of collective organisation did not work as well as expected. All these questions on the organisation of democratic life made for my first field of studies.

    Continue Reading

Other books by Jacques Rancière