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Author ORCID Identifier



Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Gianpaolo Baiocchi

Second Advisor

Emily Erikson

Third Advisor

Briankle Chang

Subject Categories

Politics and Social Change | Sociology of Culture | Theory, Knowledge and Science


This dissertation brings the philosophical writings of Jacques Rancière to sociology through the examination of women’s suffrage in the US from the late 18th through mid 19th century. The issue of equality takes center stage here, as Rancière’s politics is based on the alteration of symbolic categories of equal and unequal. The result is a sociological theory of politics that claims disagreement, not consensus, must be at the base of any democratic politics that broadly seeks equality. Women’s limited suffrage in New Jersey from 1776-1807, and the build up and proclamation of equality at the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848 are the cases examined to show the necessity of disagreement for equality in democratic politics.