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Rancière, Human Rights and the Limits of a Politics of Process

Frost, Tom (2017) Rancière, Human Rights and the Limits of a Politics of Process. In: López Lerma, Mónica and Extabe, Julen, eds. Rancière and Law. Nomikoi critical legal thinkers . Routledge, Abingdon, UK. ISBN 978-1-138-95513-4. E-ISBN 978-1-315-66656-3. (KAR id:102867)


In thinking about Rancière and Law, as this collection exhorts us to do, I have turned my attention to one of the most well-known areas of Rancière’s writings, the Rights of Man. In “Who is the Subject of the Rights of Man?”, Rancière aimed a broadside at the rights-scepticism which can be traced in much of critical theory to the writings of Hannah Arendt (on the left), and an older tradition on the right exemplified by Edmund Burke and Jeremy Bentham. Rancière’s writings and thought cover a wide range of areas, but it is the famous focus on rights which interests me here, as it brings to bear the problematisation of the ‘subject’ which Rancière develops in his writings.

Rancière does not take an ontological view of the subject. Rancière’s writings on human rights attempt to get out of an ontological trap he sees being

promulgated in relation to them (Rancière 2004b, p.302). These writings on rights and the subject illustrate Rancière’s conception of politics as a process, which emphasises a dynamic staging of conflicts and the impossibility of stepping outside that discussion and conflict.

Item Type: Book section
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion
J Political Science
K Law
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > Kent Law School
Funders: University of Sussex (
Depositing User: Tom Frost
Date Deposited: 19 Sep 2023 16:50 UTC
Last Modified: 09 Jan 2024 18:08 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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