The Powers of Sensibility: Aesthetic Politics through Adorno, Foucault, and Ranciere

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The Powers of Sensibility: Aesthetic Politics through Adorno, Foucault, and Ranciere explores the role aesthetic resources can play in an emancipatory politics. Michael Feola engages both critical theory and unruly political movements to challenge familiar anxieties about the intersection of politics and aesthetics. He shows how perception, sensibility, and feeling may contribute vital resources for conceptualizing citizenship, agency, and those spectacles that increasingly define global protest culture. Feola provides insightful engagements with the works of Adorno, Foucault, and Ranciere as well as a survey of contemporary debates on aesthetics and politics. He uses this aesthetic framework to develop a more robust account of political agency, demonstrating that politics is not reducible to the exchange of views or the building of institutions, but rather incorporates public modes of feeling, seeing, and hearing (or not-seeing and not-hearing). These sensory modes must themselves be transformed in the work of emancipatory politics. The book explores the core question: what does the aesthetic offer that is missing from the official languages of politics, citizenship, and power? Of interest to readers in the fields of critical theory, political theory, continental philosophy, and aesthetics, The Powers of Sensibility roots itself within the classical tradition of critical theory and yet uses these resources to speak to a variety of contemporary political movements.