Recently, the work of Jacques Rancière, particularly that work which theorizes the distinction between the police and politics as it maps onto the activity of the (re)distribution of the sensible, has become of interest to rhetorical studies. However, this work is performed with little attention to how the term “rhetoric” actually emerges in the material texts authored under the signature of Jacques Rancière. In this article, I intervene in the movements characterizing our field's contemporary uptake of Rancière's philosophy by offering a reading of his The Ignorant Schoolmaster: Five Lessons in Intellectual Emancipation, paying particular attention to its mobilization of the distinction between poetics and rhetoric and offering a conceptualization of poetics that, although necessarily built from a violent characterization of rhetoric, can become a productive companion to a more egalitarian rhetoric of social change.

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