On the politics of aesthetic education : the occupation of L'École des Beaux-Arts, May 14th - June 27th 1968

Hudson-Miles, Richard (2020) On the politics of aesthetic education : the occupation of L'École des Beaux-Arts, May 14th - June 27th 1968. (PhD thesis), Kingston University, .


This thesis uses the occupation of L'École des Beaux-Arts, May 14th 0 June 27th 1968, as a limit case study to interrogate the power structures, ideologies, and discourses of the university, and higher education, via the lens of the philosophy of Jacques Rancière. My original contribution to knowledge is firstly that I forward a theoretical reading of the screen-printed agitprop of 'L'Atelier populaire de l'ex-L'École des Beaux-Arts'; the name given to the spontaneous model of self-organised co-production and self-education which emerged from the '68 Beaux-Arts occupation. This reading departs significantly from all other anglophone discussions of L'Atelier populaire works in the secondary literature, in the attention given to these as aesthetic works with political effects, rather than as historical illustrations of '68 or merely political propaganda. Secondly, I situate Rancière's conception of the le partage du sensible within the broader tradition of the Marxist critique of ideology, specifically attempting to uncover a repressed Althusserian inheritance, and to read L'Atelier populaire as an instance of ideological struggle. Thirdly, I forward the art school 'in occupation' as a both Rancièrean politics if the sans-part, and a total 'redistribution of the sensible' within the university, which tests the autodidact hypothesis of Rancière's 'The ignorant schoolmaster' (1991 [1987]) and, as heuristic, offers a theory of radically democratic education which can usefully be applied to the fields of education studies, especially the emerging field of 'critical university studies'. This reading forwards a Rancièrean aesthetics of art education, utlising an original concept of 'aesthetic practice'; a neo-Althusserianism which figures subjectivation as ideological practice, albeit radically heterological and dissensual, not interpellative. As an interdisciplinary art historical thesis, this also offers a variety of minor contributions to the academic disciplines of Politics and International Studies, French, Sociology, Political Philosophy, Education, and the Social History of Design.

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