Rancière applied to healthcare: Expertise, ignorance, and emancipation in a participative care method

Special report: Truant participation
By Alexandre Fauquette

This article examines a therapeutic patient education method designed and created by a libertarian doctor influenced by Jacques Rancière’s “ignorant schoolmaster” model, with the aim of radically breaking with the traditional codes of the medical relationship and eliminating any form of imposition of biopower. More specifically, the article explores the ambiguities of this alternative approach which, while it does tend to reduce the asymmetry of the medical relationship, only emancipates those who are already emancipated (autonomous) and fails to entirely break with traditional forms of doctor-patient domination. The reality of medical practice and doctors’ responsibility toward their patients stand in the way of Rancière’s egalitarianism and require constant compromise with the hospital establishment. The leeway left by the hospital establishment also simultaneously accentuates the transgressive nature of this method.


  • expertise
  • ignorance
  • emancipation
  • therapeutic education
Go to the article on Cairn-int.info