Posts tagged ‘zizek’

2 July 2011

Assange and Zizek live

Live today on Democracy Now! A podium discussion between Julian Assange and Slavoj Žižek, chaired by Amy Goodman. With Berlin based discoursologists in the audience.

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28 June 2010

Idee des Kommunismus

So what is the idea of communism, according to the weekend’s conference at the Volksbühne in Berlin? Best answer still offered in the first 15 mins or so of this lecture from 2009.

Badiou’s answer is in French: The communist hypothesis.

12 January 2009

On violence, Gaza and Israel

I wonder how Slavoi Zizek is reacting to the crisis in Gaza, and to the commentariats’ various positions of outrage at the violence? In a recent issue of Naked Punch Simon Critchley takes issue with Zizek taking issue with Critchley’s ideas on violence and non-violence in Infinitely Demanding. Interesting article, albeit very irritating use of internet scrolling on the Naked Punch website (if you go ‘full screen’, you can see the pages turning).

Critchley summarises Zizek’s take on violence as:

Our subjective outrage at the facts of violence — a suicide bombing, a terrorist attack, the assassination of a semingly innocent political figure — blinds us to the objective violence of the world, a violence where we are perpetrators and not just innocent bystanders. All we see are apparently inexplicable acts of violence that disturb the supposed peace and normal flow of everyday life. We consistently overlook the objective or what Zizek calls “systemic” violence that is endemic to our socio-economic order.

Polemic moment: In response to Zizek’s suggestion that sometimes the most violent thing to do is to to nothing, Critchley calls Zizek “a Slovenian Hamlet, utterly paralyzed but dreaming of an avenging violent act, for which, finally, he lacks the courage.”

…from Marco.

30 December 2008

Žižek and the subject

I’ve recently had a great deal of Žižekianism imported into my home (initially most adamantly not invited by me). Yesterday, a moment of illumination appeared for me in Ernesto Laclau’s preface to one of Slavoj Žižek‘s earliest books, The Sublime Object of Ideology. The main thesis of this book (and, one could add, of his copious later writings) is, according to Laclau:

that the category of ‘subject’ cannot be reduced to the ‘positions of subject’, since before subjectivation the subject is the subject of lack (p. xii)

This assumption (the subject of lack) forms one of the fundamental differences between a Laclauian approach to discourse analysis, and approaches developing from Foucault or (critical) discourse analysis. Could we say it is the “why” question? Žižek later in the same book criticises those analyses which do not ask the why question. Althusser, for instance ‘never succeeeded in thinking out the link between Ideological State Apapratuses and ideological interpellation’ (p. 43). Why does the ISA produce subjectivation effects, why does it interpellate (hail/call) its subject into being, why does it produce the recognition of one’s subject position?

As a friend of mine said recently, if we knew the answer to the “why” question, we could control the world. So, first, perhaps it is not possible to answer it, and second, perhaps it is not necessary to ask it. But it is very tempting to speculate, and Lacanian psychoanalysis does offer one line of approach (as long as we are clear about its set of presuppositions) to exploring it. I think I’m softening towards the master…

Slavoj Žižek (1989) The Sublime Object of Ideology. London: Verso (review)

Also on the houshold Christmas reading list: