Ivana: "In a society ruled by One/Individual, Collective work/authorship introduces a necessary distortion into the Law of Domination of the Single/Name, paving the road to moments of collective intelligence and new paths of (collective) existence: sharing….knowledge, intuition, suggestion, fantasy, sensibility, movement, words, material and immaterial work, professional and amateur positions, which in a common creation of transgression moment, awakes every one's potential for transformation. This account also gives rise to two ways of demonstrating equality: “Equality as a capacity to be verified by anybody” - equality as the indeterminate signifier figured in The Nights of Labour of Jacques Rancière; and equality as the “Indifferentiation of a collective speech, a great anonymous voice” ( in interview, conducted in 2003 for the magazine Simulacres, published as ‘Identifications du peuple’ in ‘Et tant pis pour les gens fatigués’ (Éditions Amsterdam, 2009)- in Caroline Pelletier, Rancière and the poetics of the social sciences (paper).
Collective- because it develops capacity of a common confi-de/a/nce."
In the midst of economical crises, the rise of unemployment assigns education to play a role of a saviour. In hope of getting out of the unemployment carousel or encourage the search for a “better life, higher position”, one becomes seduced by the State to invest into classical paths of an institutional education. But the walls of an institution, like the walls of any transitory shelter, create a hiding, provisory place, from the unpredictable war of the job market, giving the education a role of such phantasmatic and mysterious task: “good with a higher pay”, in other words- a ticket to professional life.
We could also observe, that despite the dimensional changes around us, the structure of most official (state) education systems, or what our collective choose to call the choreography of education has remained unchanged through an extensive period of time. The compositional score are created and defined by the needs and life expectations of the pre-globalised internet era: from Bachelor to Master, from Master to Phd, still with a clear division between humanities and science and where theory and praxis are on opposite shores of each other. And where the recommended studies are directly linked with the market dictations, as in the case of the Bologna reform.
Nevertheless, since the actual “c-rising” capitalist society uses the call for long-term and ongoing education as a stroboscope in a global discotheque, displacing light from the horizon of problems. Encouraging the unemployed to educate and reeducate, as well as encouraging the young graduate students to continue their schooling until post- doctorates and further (creating an inflation of degrees), becomes like the promise of the unsinkable Titanic soon to be hitting the iceberg of the global unemployment crises, postponing any possible revolte.
At last, our interest in education remains in its clear correlation with dominant ideology, its ideological apparatus (Althusser) and dominant fiction (Rancière). If Freire, in Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1972) calls the traditional pedagogy the "banking model" because it treats the student as an empty vessel to be filled with knowledge, arguing for pedagogy to treat the learner as a co-creator of knowledge, so does Jacotot, the french pedagogue, in the early 19th century, a figure which inspired Jacques Rancière in his innovative a-pedagogical theorem The Ignorant Schoolmaster.
To conclude, our approach is inspired by various sources, from Rosa Luxemburg and Anatoli Lounatcharski (notes about self-education of workers and proletariat), to various temptation to consider art and aesthetics as an emancipatory tool towards desalienation and important subjectivisation of one’s education. Precisely, in the world where in the most European countries art lessons (music in first place) are erased in almost all( primary and secondary) school programmes (and the same judgement is pronounced for philosophy classes) and where knowledge becomes more and more related to the market/commercial rankings and knowledge transformed into commodity - thinking of the relation of art and knowledge, poetics of knowledge(s) and knowledge as a subjective emancipatory tool, becomes one urgent evidence.
Despite his placement on the top of the "french theory" circles, the renowned philosopher Jacques Rancière puts his reader out of balance by avoiding to pronounce any key theory as an entrance to his work. Challenging philosophy itself by inviting it to inhabit new forms and temporalities and therefore wipe out the conventional borders of disciplines, Rancière’s ideas take shape inside a well-composed counterpoint between themes and subjects that at first sight seem incompatible or unrelated. With Jacotot on his shoulder, he is encouraging his readers, his spectators to join the journey of research and verification between history, literature, philosophy, politics and aesthetics. He inspires his audience to imagine an equality of labour, where the daily manual work of a worker at a factory, daily practice of a musician, poet, dancer, editor, student, choreographer or writer stand on equal footing with the work of a philosopher or a scientist and other professions that are considered to be highly ranked on the axis of knowledge in our society. By tipping the verticality to a horizontal plane Rancière reminds one that the manual work of a factory worker, doesn't necessarily stop (intellectual) movement of a thought and that the artistic process is not just a sporadic burst of Dionysian inspiration but actually a labour - work, a process of acquiring, constructing and sharing knowledge.
Jacques Rancière spent his entire lifetime working as a professor of philosophy* at the experimental university centre Paris, Vincennes, later Saint-Denis, and the book that made him “famous” is exactly Althusser’s Lesson (La leçon d ' Althusser) written five years after the turmoil that shook France in 1968. In it, to put it briefly, Rancière analyses a lesson in Marxism that his famous professor, Louis Althusser, gave to a certain John Lewis, an English Marxist, who apart from his symbolic function in Rancière’s answer, really existed. John Lewis, namely, Rancière concludes, is actually the commonplace and void of ignorance, an ideal character that eventually appears in every handbook of philosophy to say exactly what should not be said – i.e. a paradigm of an ignorant student who, in return, receives a lesson after a lesson from his teacher, like pedagogical slaps, thus confirming his enlightenment-like diligence. Rancière's book consists of an analysis of four lessons, each of which represents one chapter: A Lesson in Orthodoxy, A Lesson in Politics, A Lesson in Self-Criticism and A Lesson in History. Together, they constitute a sharp critique of a certain “school of Marxism” (at that time Althusserianism), and through it, a critique of the operating models of each school of enlightenment academism which, in the name of pedagogical progress, introduces the terror of Science, the place of a court-martial from where Truth itself and its correlate, the terror of (provincial) Ideology speaks. If you take into account that Althusser, with the vigor of his scientific-like purism, did everything to separate a young Marx “ideologist” from the mature Marx “scientist” (as Daniel Bensaid put it in his text “Althusser and the Mystery of an Encounter”: Karl until 1845 and Marx thereafter), it is clear that Rancière's critique turned upside down and rather dulled the scissors of such an epistemological cut (science versus ideology). A pedagogue, assuming this role, as Rancière will show on the example of self- elusive professor Althusser, willingly or not becomes part of the Moebius’ system, in which when the final question (asked already by Marx in his Theses on Feuerbach) who educates the educators is asked, each answer ends up on the office desk of the governing body of (provincial) Ideology, while an intellectual of academic and scientific provenance in the role of a light-bearer, becomes a concierge par excellence of such a pantheon inherited from “petit- bourgeois”. Analysing, further, the pedagogical concepts that he identifies as the key gears of bourgeois ideology: supervision, assistance, hierarchy, education and philanthropy, Rancière concludes that a veil of science (theory) very often hides the restoration of bourgeois materialism (according to Althusser, progress is possible via “scholars”, who, as Rancière concludes, become a kind of “theoretical police”). Or, despite all those anti-pedagogical approaches but strong poetico- theoretical vibration that Ranciere’s work leaves behind him and inspire many of us, one has to ask oneself : what, after all, should be a “Lesson of Ranciere”? ( link to all Ranciere’s topics: Poetic of knowledge, Equality etc etc) Is there, at the centre of such anti- pedagogical thoughts and focused resistance to the reactive practice of teaching, despite everything, a lesson that the author of the Ignorant Schoolmaster (Maître ignorant), still manages to leave behind? In the valuable essay Rancière's Style*, Davide Panagia, finally formulates that what makes “the Rancière case” escape the classifiers of “academic knowledge” for years. Free indirect style and speech used by Rancière in his fiction (but not at all in theory, since he is consciously outside of it), is his aesthetic as much as political choice. Learning from Marx, on one hand, that refusal to belong to the logic of equivalence (20 arshins of cloth = 1 coat; 20 arshins of cloth have the value of one coat), means refusal to belong to inequality and consensus, as the essence of the capitalist order. Rancière, who wa apart from Marx, also “schooled” by Flaubert, chooses the “lesson” of an impersonal and indiscernible style. Because, if there is no difference between a legitimate and illegitimate speech, if the style is indirect (just like Flaubert's in Madame Bovary, for example), and if things are indiscernible and incomprehensible from the aspect of cause and effect, they are already immeasurable, they tactfully escape the logic of counting, belonging to a group, equating (X sentence = Y meaning); they are inclined towards disensus, de-individualisation and dis- identitarianism and thus seriously oppose the given order, creating a completely new quality. An academic discourse that does not aspire towards scientificity but sensibility and does not seek expertise but intuition (which Marx himself speaks about, especially in his letters), builds a completely new theoretical and emancipatory sensibility: a speech that does not belong to anyone in particular, but to everyone. This excessive uncountability, within which Jacques Rancière is one of the voices, certainly becomes political. And the poetics of knowledge, which he builds drifting among various “irreconcilable disciplines” (philosophy, history, politics, poetry) eludes both capitalist equivalence of inequality and the dogmatic Marxist one (X worker = Y ignorance about his own situation). And with it spreads the primal echo of first books of Ranciere, that still resonate in all his work and beyond it.