Equality in the Educational Revolution

A Conversation with Jacques Rancière (English translation from and including the Spanish original)


  • Christopher Dubbs East Stroudsburg University


The explicative logic, or the myth of pedagogy, is responsible for the learning of stultification: a student cannot learn without a master explicator. Pedagogy, then, fundamentally transmits knowledge of an incapacity to know without pedagogy. From his radical egalitarian critique of pedagogy, Rancière raises a question about the most sacred educational relationship: the knowing-teacher and unknowing-student dyad. It is by bringing such for-granted assumptions to the foreground, that Rancière serves (philosophy of) education. Clearly, we can, and do, learn in many contexts without a stultifying teacher. In this interview, originally conducted in Spanish, Rancière shares his thoughts—never imperatives—on education today. Significantly influenced by his experience as a student of Althusser, with the student revolts in Paris, France in May 1968, and the ongoing tension between his work as a professor and the instrumental view of college/university today, Rancière considers such ideas as “teacher without an institution,” “un-disciplined education,” “educational community,” and “the democratic school.” He revisits several of his works, to consider the lesson that they each might teach us about education today. In these ponderings, Rancière questions the ethics and politics of the myth of pedagogy and instead suggests ways we might enact the democratic principle of equality.