Žižek : A Guide for the Perplexed

Žižek : A Guide for the Perplexed

Sean Sheehan

Language: English

Pages: 185

ISBN: 2:00338739

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


One of the most widely-read thinkers writing today, Slavoj Žižek's work can be both thrilling and perplexing in equal measure. Žižek: A Guide for the Perplexed is the most up-to-date guide available for readers struggling to master the ideas of this hugely influential thinker. Unpacking the philosophical references that fill Žižek's writings, the book explores his influences, including Lacan, Kant, Hegel and Marx. From there, a chapter on 'Reading Žižek' guides the reader through the ways that he applies these core theoretical concepts in key texts like Tarrying With the Negative, The Ticklish Subject and The Parrallax View and in his books about popular culture like Looking Awry and Enjoy Your Symptom! Major secondary writings and films featuring Žižek are also covered.

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for the fundamental lack that is the subject itself. There is another aspect to the infant’s relationship with the Other that feeds into the nature of objet petit a. With the acknowledgement of the Other as another barred subject with its own lack, the interaction between the two gives rise to the dilemma of trying to 22 LACAN AND ŽIŽEK answer the question ‘where am I positioned in relation to the Other’s desire?’ A distance is established that differentiates the desire of the subject from

on fundamental notions of a less-than-harmonious human constitution and if capitalism taps deeply into the libidinal source of this imbalance, does this not buttress the resigned 81 Žižek: A Guide for the Perplexed conservative’s axiom that human nature dictates the inevitable failure of any communist-inspired politics, as amply demonstrated by the history of the Soviet Union? Capitalism, warts and all, succeeds because aspects of human nature render alternative economic systems hopeless

sacrificing a belief in the possibility of fundamental change. While he finds no comfort in the oracular ‘truths’ of Marxism – Žižek did not, for example, detect capitalism’s death throes in the global financial crisis of 2008, seeing instead that it would only make the system stronger19 – there is hope in the act: An act is more than an intervention into the domain of the possible – an act changes the very coordinates of what is possible and thus retroactively creates its own conditions of

documentary Žižek!, directed by Astra Taylor and lasting less than 75 minutes, is entertaining to watch as it follows Žižek from Argentina to his home in Slovenia, to Columbia University and an American TV talk show where he explains the superego, then to London before back across the ocean to Boston. It starts with an engaging but serious statement of his basic ontology: the universe as a void, its balance disturbed, a ‘cosmic catastrophe … something went wrong … it’s stupid’. There are some

point is to remove the foundations for a belief in the big Other. The witty ending to the film can be read as a firm refusal on his part to become anyone’s objet petit a. Astra Taylor’s 2008 film, Examined Life, features eight, mostly tenured professors at American universities, delivering ten-minute homilies on philosophical matters while walking, rowing or being driven around different public spaces. There is a certain amount of bland, well-honed generalities from some of the participants but

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