Staging Disagreement and Its Ethics: A Rancièrian Approach to Lanthimos’ Dogtooth



Ethics of Equality, Rancière, Disagreement, Aesthetics and Politics, Lanthimos’ Dogtooth


This article analyses Yorgos Lanthimos’ Dogtooth/Kynodontas (2009) on the basis of Jacques Rancière’s ethics of equality. It begins with an ethical elucidation of Rancière’s widely-known conception of disagreement through which Rancière meticulouslyconceptualizes politics not as a form of consensus, but as a form of disagreement or dissensus. For Rancière, what accompanies scenes of disagreement is the principle of equality, which signifies equality between each and every speaking being; it is the principle that corresponds to a presupposition of equality that animates both the police and politics. By taking the principle of equality into the centre of our argument, just as Rancière does, we suggest that ethics is the core of his aesthetico-political framework since both the police and politics are dependent upon this principle. Therefore, in the first section, we elaborate respectively the police as an organisation through which the ethical dimension of relationships is delimited and politics as scenes of disagreement in which the ethical dimension of relationships becomes unlimited. This is because politics is an ethical act that opens the undoing of the police order to an infinite number of ethical responses. We propose to name this the ethics of equality. Then, the article aims to enrich the discussion on the ethico-aesthetics of politics through a reading of Dogtooth as well as to provide a unique appraisal of the film. Accordingly, we suggest that Dogtooth with its narrative provides exemplary settings to discuss the ethics of equality. To argue this, we initially provide a critical analysis of the familial organization in Dogtooth, specifically focusing on how the family structurally resembles the police order and how the scenes of agreement and disagreement are displayed within this structure. We then demonstrate how the ethical and aesthetico-political value of the film lies on its capacity to narrate scenes of disagreement, especially in a pre-political sense.




How to Cite

Goksoy , S., & Bidav, T. (2019). Staging Disagreement and Its Ethics: A Rancièrian Approach to Lanthimos’ Dogtooth. Cinema: Journal of Philosophy and the Moving Image, (11), 42–60. Retrieved from