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In this combative, major new work, philosophical sharpshooter Slavoj ?i?ek looks for the kernel of truth in the totalitarian politics of the past.
Examining Heidegger's seduction by fascism and Foucault's flirtation with the Iranian Revolution, he suggests that these were the "right steps in the wrong direction." On the revolutionary terror of Robespierre, Mao and the Bolsheviks, ?i?ek argues that while these struggles ended in historic failure...
In this combative, major new work, philosophical sharpshooter Slavoj Žižek looks for the kernel of truth in the totalitarian politics of the past.
Examining Heidegger's seduction by fascism and Foucault's flirtation with the Iranian Revolution, he suggests that these were the "right steps in the wrong direction." On the revolutionary terror of Robespierre, Mao and the Bolsheviks, Žižek argues that while these struggles ended in historic failure and horror, there was a valuable core of idealism lost beneath the bloodshed.
A redemptive vision has been obscured by the soft, decentralized politics of the liberal-democratic consensus. Faced with the coming ecological crisis, Žižek argues the case for revolutionary terror and the dicatorship of the proletrariat. A return to past ideals is needed despite the risks. In the words of Samuel Beckett: "Try again. Fail again. Fail better."
“Addictively eclectic ... He contrives to leave the reader, as usual, both exhilarated and disoriented, standing in the middle of a scorched plain strewn with the rubble of smashed idols.”—Steven Poole, The Guardian
“A wealth of political and philosophical insight.”—Terry Eagleton, The Times Literary Supplement
“A monument to imaginative, risk-taking and rigorous scholarship.”—Times Higher Education Supplement
“Exhilarating, inspiring, thought-provoking.”—David Schneider, Prospect
“Outrageous, provocative and entertaining.”—Terry Eagleton
Zizek (international director, Birkbeck Inst. for the Humanities, Univ. of London; sociology, Univ. of Ljubljana, Slovenia; The Fragile Absolute) writes with humor and incisiveness as he addresses the limits of liberal democratic approaches to politics and the possibility of benefit in totalitarian approaches to statehood. Examining by turns errors made by Martin Heidegger, Michel Foucault, Maximilien Robespierre, and other thinkers when faced with totalitarian missions, Zizek provides analysis by way of Jacques Lacan, literary deconstruction, and history's famously particular moments, such as the denouement of the the Cuban Missile Crisis. Scholars of political theory and modern philosophy will find much here to consider and argue for or against. In parts, the essays can also be used with upper-division undergraduate students. And because Zizek's work straddles the most contemporary 20th-century literature and history and is written with panache rather than in jargon, public libraries serving highly educated communities will want to add this as well.
Introduction Causa Locuta, Roma Finita 1
Pt. I The State of Things
1 Happiness and Torture in the Atonal World 11
2 The Family Myth of Ideology 52
3 Radical Intellectuals, or, Why Heidegger Took the Right Step (Albeit in the Wrong Direction) in 1933 95
Pt. II Lessons from the Past
4 Revolutionary Terror from Robespierre to Mao 157
5 Stalinism Revisited, or, How Stalin Saved the Humanity of Man 211
6 Why Populism is (Sometimes) Good Enough in Practice, but Not in Theory 264
Pt. III What is to Be Done?
7 The Crisis of Determinate Negation 337
8 Alain Badiou, or, the Violence of Subtraction 381
9 Unbehagen in der Natur 420
Posted February 4, 2012
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