This chapter sets out the argument of the book: first showing that the conflation of liberalism and democratic politics serves to enervate the latter, and then going on to make the case for disentangling democratic politics from the structures of liberalism. The chapter is guided by Rancière's radical pedagogical principle of the equality of intelligence: the idea that students can understand a book on their own, and that the traditional model of explanation is nothing less than stultification. Using the Egyptian revolution as an illustrative example of liberalism's inability to account for a “politics of surprise,” the chapter then works through some of Rancière's central concepts: subject, ontology, history, and equality.
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