Is it due to lack of critical agency that precarious persons opt, time and again, for political views that contribute to their marginalization? How should we understand that alleged loss of critical agency and how could it be countered? Influential perspectives in critical theory have answered these questions by highlighting how certain ideological mechanisms, incorporated thoughtlessly by the most vulnerable bodies, function to obscure their interests and the causes of the condition they find themselves in. Through an original interpretation of Jacques Rancière’s thought, but also going beyond it, The Politics of Bodies establishes a different horizon of reflection. Laura Quintana’s main hypothesis is that the lack of critical agency today has more to do with a loss of the desire for transformation, fostered by neoliberal consensual dynamics, than with techniques of deceit and manipulation. In developing her interpretation of Rancière’s thought, Quintana provides an analysis of certain aesthetic-political and socioeconomic conditions of the historical present, anchored mainly in Latin America. Thus, she addresses the corporeal transformations produced by emancipatory practices, the ways in which they affect configurations of power, and the manner in which they can be disseminated in and, in turn, alter the political landscape.
Laura Quintana is associate professor of philosophy at the Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia.