Abstract

This article explores the question of how we should conceive of the aesthetic dimensions of politics that Rancière identifies. Among some interpreters of Rancière, there is a tendency to posit a binary opposition between the aesthetically transformative dimensions of politics, on the one hand, and cognition and communicability, on the other, and then to reduce the aesthetic dimensions to moments that rupture the dominant order of sense. I examine Black Lives Matter activism to argue against this tendency. Black Lives Matter activism introduces new perceptions into the field of sensory experience, but these new perceptions arrive in cognitive and communicative form. Moreover, the activists' performances insert these new perceptions into the world of their opponents, transforming the dominant sensory world from within. Political-aesthetic transformations occur not when heterogeneous elements interrupt the dominant order of sense but when actors invoke a counterworld that is imbricated in the sensory world it opposes.

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