Lazy rascals, spending their substance, and more, in riotous living

Jacques Rancière’s neoliberal pedagogy

Reading an excellent article from Nina on the possibility of a more just educational system, which makes a determined attempt to enlist Rancière in this project. As it happens I’ve been reading a chunk of Rancière for my dissertation of late, which has sharpened my skepticism towards him, and I’m more convinced than ever that Rancière is of no use in thinking about liberatory education. Maybe this is a result of differences between francophone and anglophone intellectual cultures, but the “mastery” Rancière attacks seems absurdly anachronistic, a model of education swept away at least by the late 60s (indeed, rejected by progressive educators since the 20s). Not to belittle the importance of these reforming projects, but not only is Rancière’s advocacy of an exploratory and democratic education, as against a directive and hierarchical one, rather pushing at an open door, it’s pushing at an open door that has proved to be a plausible entry point for neoliberalism. Indeed it’s worse than that: Rancière’s ignorant schoolmaster is, it seems to me, the perfect figure of neoliberal authoritarianism. Read more↴