In Defense of Lost Causes

In Defense of Lost Causes

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by Slavoj Zizek
     
 

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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

Overview

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, Žižekk argues the case for revolutionary terror and the dictatorship of the proletariat. A return to past ideals is needed despite the risks. In the words of Samuel Beckett: ‘Try again. Fail again. Fail better.’

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

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.
—Francisca Goldsmith

New Yorker
Zizek leaves no social or cultural phenomenon untheorized, and is a master of the counterintuitive observation.
The Village Voice
The giant of Ljubljana provides the best intellectual high science since Anti-Oedipus.
Guardian
Zizek is a thinker who regards nothing as outside his field: the result is deeply interesting and provocative.
Times Higher Education Supplement
“A monument to imaginative, risk-taking and rigorous scholarship.”
Prospect
Exhilarating, inspiring, thought-provoking.— David Schneider
The Guardian
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 New Republic
The most dangerous philosopher in the West.— Adam Kirsch
The Times Literary Supplement
A wealth of political and philosophical insight.— Terry Eagleton
David Schneider - Prospect
“Exhilarating, inspiring, thought-provoking.”
Steven Poole - The Guardian
“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.”
Terry Eagleton
“Outrageous, provocative and entertaining.”
Adam Kirsch - The New Republic
“The most dangerous philosopher in the West.”
Terry Eagleton - The Times Literary Supplement
“A wealth of political and philosophical insight.”
From the Publisher
“The most dangerous philosopher in the West.”—Adam Kirsch, The New Republic

“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

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781844674909
Publisher:
Verso Books
Publication date:
10/19/2009
Sold by:
Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
824 KB

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What People are saying about this

Terry Eagleton
Outrageous, provocative and entertaining.

Meet the Author

Slavoj Žižek is a Slovenian philosopher and cultural critic. He is a professor at the European Graduate School, International Director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, Birkbeck College, University of London, and a senior researcher at the Institute of Sociology, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. His books include Living in the End Times, First as Tragedy, Then as Farce, In Defense of Lost Causes, four volumes of the Essential Žižek, and many more.

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In Defense of Lost Causes 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago