Intellectual Emancipation as Minimal Humanism: The Relevance of Jacques Rancière in Business School Teaching

Mads Kogut*, Morten Sørensen Thaning, Niklas Birksted

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    How might emancipatory teaching practices look like in the context of the business school, when the meaning of the subject of emancipation, the human being, has become unsettled? Our philosophical essay addresses this question by excavating Jacques Rancière’s conception of intellectual emancipation and showing its practical relevance for experiments with emancipatory teaching in a business school environment. Speaking from within a tradition where the meaning of human is irrevocably unsettled, Rancière, remarkably, still insists on an essential link between emancipation and humanism – although in a minimal version. First, we show why and how Rancière’s analyses of emancipation are united by the common concern to affirm such a minimal humanism. Thereafter, we describe how three features sets intellectual emancipation apart from social and aesthetic emancipation and makes it pertinent to take intellectual emancipation to school: The possibility and intention to emancipate others, the acknowledgement of the constructive role of reason herein, and the significance of teacher authority in doing so. Lastly, we move beyond and problematize Rancière’s clear conceptual account of intellectual emancipation by extracting three heuristic pedagogical devices from it and by recounting their confrontation with the messy details of our teaching practice at the business school.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalManagement Learning
    Issue number2
    Pages (from-to)165-187
    Number of pages23
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021

    Bibliographical note

    Published online: November 12, 2020.


    • Business school teaching
    • Intellectual emancipation
    • Jacques Rancière
    • Minimal humanism

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