Jacques Ranciere and Pete Rock

“Lamentation about a surfeit of consumable commodities and images was first and foremost  a  depiction  of  democratic  society  as  one  in  which there are too many individuals capable of appropriating words, images  and  forms  of  lived  experience.  Such was in fact the great anxiety of nineteenth-century elites: anxiety about the circulation of these unprecedented forms of lived experience, likely to give any passerby, visitor or reader materials liable to contribute to the reconfiguration of her life-world. This multiplication of unprecedented encounters was also an awakening of original capacities in popular bodies. Emancipation – that is to say, the dismantling of the old distribution of what could be seen, thought and done – fed on this multiplication. Denunciation of the misleading seduction of the ‘consumer society’ was initially the deed of elites gripped by terror at the twin contem­porary figures of popular experimentation with new forms of life: Emma Bovary and the International Workingmen’s Association. Obviously, this terror took the form of paternal solicitude for poor people whose fragile brains were incapable of mastering such multiplicity.  In other  words,  the  capacity to  reinvent  lives  was  transformed  into  an  inability  to  judge situations. ”

Jacques Ranciere, Misadventures of Critical Thought

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