Mellem sanselighed og systemer - en undersøgelse af det politiske i dansk samtidslitteratur med udgangspunkt i Jacques Rancière

Rasmus Markussen

Studenteropgave: Speciale


This thesis examines the political aspect of literature based on Jacques Rancière’s conceptions of politics, aesthetics, art and literature and examines the political aspects of contemporary Danish literature, based on the analysis of five literary works. These are Asta Olivia Nordenhof’s ‘det nemme og det ensomme’, Lone Aburas’ ‘Det er et jeg der taler (Regnskabets time)’, Peter-Clement Woetmann’s ‘Bag Bakkerne, Kysten’, Kenneth Jensen’s ‘Tragedie plus tid’ and Jonas Eika Rasmussen’s ‘Lageret Huset Marie’.

Rancière understands the political as a disturbance based on equality in the police order, defined as fixed and hierarchical divisions of places and roles in the distribution of the sensible. The political intervention changes what is visible and audible, allowing hidden bodies and places to become visible, and for voices that appeared as noise to be recognized as sensible speech. The breaks in the distribution of the sensible are understood using the concept of dissensus.

The political aspects of art consist in its possibility to create dissensus, i.e. to disturb the distribution of the sensible. This potential stems from how art is defined and constituted in the aesthetic regime of art in an ongoing break with the mimesis of the representative order. This places art in an unregulated relation to the distribution of the sensible. In the aesthetic regime of art, art is defined by appearing in a specific aesthetic sensorium, characterized by a double suspension of cognition and desire, which points to a radical different distribution of the sensible, where the opposition between people of speech and action and people of plain work is dissolved.

Literature is defined as free, mute letters circulating without any specific addressee for anyone to seize hold of, and which are available to any subject. The politics of literature consist in the clash between this constituting equality between subjects and two other equalities, which Rancière defines as the equality of mute things and the equality between molecules. The politics of literature is then also a field of tension between the dissolution and construction of new meaning.

The analysis of contemporary Danish literature finds that it is political by virtue of its interventions in the distribution of the sensible by dissensus. It introduces hidden or marginalized subjects, places and voices, and several of the examined works present subjects trying to dis-identify themselves from their place in the police order. Also, the literary works generally formulate a clear critique of specific social conditions, which are often produced by polemic juxtapositions of worlds that point to unacceptable differences. This allows the reader to see the exclusion and violence within the ethical community’s conception of society as a whole body. Lastly, the analysis shows that several of the works supplement their criticism with positive counter-images, which are in some occasions constructed using traditional lyric descriptions of sensuous experiences and nature. Thus, the analysis also shows that contemporary Danish literature appears to break with Rancière’s ‘the ethical turn’ and correlates with the re-politicizing tendencies of recent years.

UddannelserFilosofi og Videnskabsteori, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Kandidat
Udgivelsesdato3 apr. 2018
Antal sider80
VejledereAnne Elisabeth Sejten


  • Jacques Rancière
  • Samtidslitteratur
  • Asta Olivia Nordenhof
  • Æstetik
  • Lone Aburas
  • Peter-Clement Woetmann
  • Kenneth Jensen
  • Jonas Eika Rasmussen
  • Filosofisk Æstetik
  • Politik og Litteratur