Violence (Big Ideas/Small Books)

Violence (Big Ideas/Small Books)

by Slavoj Zizek
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Violence (Big Ideas/Small Books) by Slavoj Zizek

Philosopher, cultural critic, and agent provocateur Slavoj Žižek constructs a fascinating new framework to look at the forces of violence in our world.

Using history, philosophy, books, movies, Lacanian psychiatry, and jokes, Slavoj Žižek examines the ways we perceive and misperceive violence. Drawing from his unique cultural vision, Žižek brings new light to the Paris riots of 2005; he questions the permissiveness of violence in philanthropy; in daring terms, he reflects on the powerful image and determination of contemporary terrorists.

Violence, Žižek states, takes three forms—subjective (crime, terror), objective (racism, hate-speech, discrimination), and systemic (the catastrophic effects of economic and political systems)—and often one form of violence blunts our ability to see the others, raising complicated questions.

Does the advent of capitalism and, indeed, civilization cause more violence than it prevents? Is there violence in the simple idea of "the neighbour"? And could the appropriate form of action against violence today simply be to contemplate, to think?

Beginning with these and other equally contemplative questions, Žižek discusses the inherent violence of globalization, capitalism, fundamentalism, and language, in a work that will confirm his standing as one of our most erudite and incendiary modern thinkers.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780312427184
Publisher: Picador
Publication date: 07/22/2008
Series: BIG IDEAS//small books Series
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 637,674
Product dimensions: 4.60(w) x 7.00(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Slavoj Žižek is a senior researcher at the Institute of Sociology, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, and has been a visiting professor at Columbia University, Princeton, and The New School. He is the author of more than thirty books and is the subject of the documentary, Žižek. His own critically acclaimed documentary, The Pervert's Guide to Cinema, was the subject of a film retrospective in 2007 at the Museum of Modern Art.

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Violence 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
duluoz_beat More than 1 year ago
In a thought provoking intro he relates an old story- ". . . a worker suspected of stealing every eveining as he leaves the factory, the wheelbarrow he wheels in front of him is carefully inspected. The guards can find nothing. It is always empty. Finally the penny drops: what the worker is stealing is the wheelbarrows themselves. . ." Such it is with violence- the most obvious forms are not what interests Zizek- for him the wheelbarrow is the objective and systemic forms that need illumination. I found his discussion of the "other" particularly thought provoking especially when the other is the enemy. He defines enemy as "a person whose story you have not heard." For instance he uses Mary Shelly as she took us inside Frankenstein's monster and revealed feelings and passions and why he feels to be misrepresented by society. Of course this has much greater implications as it is easier for violence to be perpetrated on the "other" we do not know. That is not to say that to know someone is to love them. One need only consider Stalin and Hitler as examples of the "other" no amount of exposure to their reality would take them from enemy to "neighbor". Language and form are other types of objective violence. Words and images often are either violent in structure or in intent or both. Zizek uses Muslim violence in reaction to Danish cartoons that depicted Mohamed and the unrest that ensued as his prototype for this violence. Words and pictures themselves are "violent" as is the context of how the "other" receives and processes them. Interesting discussions on the violence of doing nothing or doing the wrong thing are trumped by an ill-conceived final essay on "divine violence" that is not well defined where he seemed more intent of cleverness than clarity.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago