Uncertain Times

Jacques Ranciere


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Polity Press
16 February 2024
ISBN: 9781509558681
200 pages

From the publisher

The global triumph of democracy was announced thirty years ago, promising an age of consensus in which the dispassionate consideration of objective problems would give birth to a world at peace. Today, these grand hopes lie in ruins, and the era touted as new has turned out to be remarkably similar to the old order. To understand why this might be so, we need to examine the nature of the consensus itself, which is not the peace that it promised but rather the map of a territory on which new forms of warfare are being waged. The objective reality that imposed itself at the end of the 1990s was an absolutized and globalized capitalism which has produced ever more inequality, exclusion and hate.   

In this book Jacques Rancière delivers a frank and piercing critique of the globalized capitalist consensus. The invasion of Iraq, the riots on Capitol Hill and the rise of the European far right all attest to the true nature of this consensus, as does the current state-sanctioned racism which exploits the disenchanted progressive tradition and is led by an intelligentsia that claims to be left-wing. At the same time, Rancière praises the dynamism of social movements which affirm the power of the assembly of equals and its capacity for worldmaking: autonomous protest collectives have proven themselves capable of opening breaches in the consensual order and challenging the post-1989 system of domination.