Political Subjectivization between Identification and Dis-identification – Understanding New Social Movements with Jacques Rancière

  • Abstract:

    In a first part I refer to Jacques Rancière, especially to his work Politics, Identification, and Subjectivization (1992) in order to understand the logic of political subjectivization as a “heterology, a logic of the other” (ibid, p. 62), mainly for three reasons, as Rancière writes: “First, it is never the simple assertion of an identity; it is always, at the same time, the denial of an identity given by another, given by the ruling order of policy. Policy is about ‘right’ names, names that pin people down to their place and work. Politics is about ‘wrong’ names – misnomers that articulate a gap and connect with a wrong. Second, it is a demonstration, and a demonstration always supposes an other, even if that other refuses evidence or argument. […] There is no consensus, no undamaged communication, no settlement of a wrong. But there is a polemical commonplace for the handling of a wrong and the demonstration of equality. Third, the logic of subjectivization always entails an impossible identification.” (ibid). Starting from these more theoretical points I would like to argue in my second part that more recent social movements are thoroughly affectively attuned assemblages that are characterized nonetheless by their preliminarity and their unpredictability. Their members oscillate between moments of identification and dis-identification and expose themselves in their singularity. For example the idea of “urban communism” can function as a concrete materialization to the extent that in Occupy Wall Street questions of identity and alterity, and also issues of access and participation, are of central importance (Wetzel 2016).
    Rancière, Jacques (1992): «Politics, Identification, and Subjectivization«. In: October 61, 58–64.
    Wetzel, Dietmar (2016): Two Examples of recent aesthetic-political forms of community: Occupy and sharing economy, in: Claviez, Thomas (ed.), The Common Growl. New York: Fordham, 159-173.