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Whose names count? Jacques Rancière on Alfredo Jaar’s Rwanda Project

Lloyd, Moya (2019) 'Whose names count? Jacques Rancière on Alfredo Jaar’s Rwanda Project.' Contemporary Political Theory, 18 (3). 311 - 330. ISSN 1470-8914

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This article focuses on Jacques Rancière’s reflections on Alfredo Jaar’s The Rwanda Project in the context of wider discussions of the politics of naming the dead. Against the claim that his reflections reveal a depoliticizing, universalist commitment to naming all the dead, it contends that foregrounding the relation between naming and counting in this discussion shows Rancière’s focus to be the policing and politics of naming. In an original argument, it focuses specifically on how, for Rancière, in this context, individualized proper names function politically and dissensually. To do so it explores (i) Rancière’s analysis of the role of the mainstream media during the Rwandan genocide in perpetuating the police order (or order of grievability) which divided nameable individuals from anonymous masses, thereby constituting living and dead Rwandans as of little or no account, and (ii) his account of how Jaar’s art is able to disrupt the ‘partition of the sensible’ underpinning this count. The article concludes by considering how Rancière’s ideas about the relationship between naming and counting and between politics and police serve as a useful supplement to and extension of existing discussions of grievability.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Jacques Rancière, grievability, naming, politics, Alfredo Jaar, Rwanda
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Government, Department of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 04 Feb 2019 16:54
Last Modified: 11 Dec 2020 15:15

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