Towards a Rancièrean Critical Theory


  • Matthew Lampert Northeast Texas Community College



Rancière, Critical Theory, critique, emancipation


While Jacques Rancière has never been affiliated in any way with the Institute for Social Research, this article examines the extent to which his work could be considered “Critical Theory” in the sense most closely associated with the Frankfurt School tradition. I argue that Rancière’s work is not critical theory in this narrow sense; I further lay out a kind of “Rancièrean” criticism of the very project of Frankfurt School Critical Theory. This in turn allows me to sketch out a version of Critical Theory that might survive a Rancièrean critique. Even by this renewed conception, however, I argue that Rancière’s own work still cannot be considered a project of Critical Theory; but I finish the essay by laying out what a possible “Rancièrean” Critical Theory might look like, and why I think such a project would be valuable.

Author Biography

Matthew Lampert, Northeast Texas Community College

Matthew Lampert is professor of philosophy at Northeast Texas Community College. In addition to recent and forthcoming essays on Rancière, he has published essays on business ethics, critical pedagogy, and the work of Louis Althusser. He received his PhD from the New School for Social Research, and currently lives in Dallas, TX.