The Desert Below: The Labyrinth of Sensibility between Rancière, Deleuze, and Weil

Suzanne McCullagh, Casey Ford

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review


This piece explores the dialogic form as a way to engage in rigorously focused philosophical analysis and the generation of problems. We take up Jacques Rancière’s understanding of the relation of aesthetics and politics, and his critique of Gilles Deleuze’s aesthetic thought in its purported inability to generate political community. To develop the stakes of this problem, we introduce Simone Weil’s concept of decreation as a possible bridge between the deformative capacity of aesthetics emphasized by Deleuze, and the politically constitutive aesthetics demanded by Rancière. To see the efficacy of the relation between the concepts of deformation, decreation, and political community, we explore the history of the problem of figuration in art and the problem of collective constitution in politics. We conclude that a process of deformation and decreation is an essential feature of political becoming which does not preclude the development of community; undoing the self, to the contrary, activates wider possibilities for relating to the human and non-human world.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-173
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Aesthetics and Phenomenology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul. 2018


  • aesthetics
  • collectivity
  • decreation
  • deformation
  • Deleuze
  • Rancière
  • Weil


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