The Ticklish Subject confronts Deconstructionists and Habermasians, cognitive scientists and Heideggerians, feminists and New Age obscurantists by unearthing a subversive core to this elusive spectre, and finding in this core the indispensable philosophical point of reference of any genuinely emancipatory politics.
This book offers a foundational critique of Zizek's Lacanian theory of the subject, with a mind toward an alternative theory of the "mediating subject" rooted in Adornian critical theory, existential-phenomenology, 4th wave psychoanalysis after Kohut, and recent studies in the cognitive sciences. It also touches on alternative forms of collectivity, a democratic theory of knowledge, and advances aspects of R.C.Smith's formulations around an alternative anthropology, epistemology and cosmology.
The book shares Žižek's central problem of how to revitalize the radical political left through theory. It initially follows the argument developed in The Ticklish Subject that contemporary leftist thought is divided by antagonism between a Marxist revolutionary politics founded on Enlightenment philosophy and a politics of identity founded on post-modern post-structuralism. How Žižek used Lacan's theory of character structures is examined here to describe this theoretical deadlock and explain how the dominant contemporary ideologies of liberal tolerant multiculturalism and reactionary "pseudo-fundamentalism" compete to mobilize the individual subject's unconscious drive to enjoyment. The book thus emphasizes the moments in which Žižek hints that Lacanian theory may describe a practice that facilitates the resolution of antagonisms that placate radical leftist politics. It challenges prevalent interpretations of Lacanian ends of analysis, to ultimately connect the psychoanalytic cure to the leftist project of social and political liberation. The Subject of Liberation argues that if Lacan is to be useful to leftist politics, then the left has to develop its own definitions of the post-analytic subject, and proposes one such definition developed out of Lacanian and Žižekian theory.
Transcending Subjects: Augustine, Hegel and Theology connects the seminal figures of Hegel and Augustine around the theme of subjectivity, with consideration toward the theology and politics of freedom. After the demise of Kantian liberalism and secularism, scholars are returning to Hegel as the first great post-secular critic of Enlightenment liberalism. As a result of this return, and Hegel’s influence in philosophy and theology, those who seek to understand and engage modern theology and politics must be familiar with Hegel. However, Holsclaw argues that such a return to Hegel should only come after a deeper return to Augustine’s theological and philosophical perspective. Without polemicizing the difference between transcendence and immanence, Holsclaw takes the often daunting figures of Hegel and Augustine and clearly shows how they articulate two fundamental options from which theology and politics develop: the former oriented toward immanence and the latter toward transcendence. In addition to providing a new interpretation of major works of Hegel and Augustine, Holsclaw engages recent interpretations of Hegel, by scholars such as Pippin and ?i?ek, and Augustine, by scholars such as Milbank and Gregory, with the goal of reorienting theology and the politics of freedom around a subjectivity that is transcended.
Marxism's collapse in the twentieth century profoundly altered the style and substance of Western European radical thought. To build a more robust form of democratic theory and action, prominent theorists moved to reject revolution, abandon class for more fragmented models of social action, and elevate the political over the social. Acknowledging the constructedness of society and politics, they chose the "symbolic" as a concept powerful enough to reinvent leftist thought outside a Marxist framework. Following Maurice Merleau-Ponty's Adventures of the Dialectic, which reassessed philosophical Marxism at mid century, Warren Breckman critically revisits these thrilling experiments in the aftermath of Marxism. The post-Marxist idea of the symbolic is dynamic and complex, uncannily echoing the early German Romantics, who first advanced a modern conception of symbolism and the symbolic. Hegel and Marx denounced the Romantics for their otherworldly and nebulous posture, yet post-Marxist thinkers appreciated the rich potential of the ambiguities and paradoxes the Romantics first recognized. Mapping different ideas of the symbolic among contemporary thinkers, Breckman traces a fascinating reflection of Romantic themes and resonances, and he explores in depth the effort to reconcile a radical and democratic political agenda with a politics that does not privilege materialist understandings of the social. Engaging with the work of Claude Lévi-Strauss, Cornelius Castoriadis, Claude Lefort, Marcel Gauchet, Ernesto Laclau, Chantal Mouffe, and Slavoj i ek, Breckman uniquely situates these important theorists within two hundred years of European thought and extends their profound relevance to today's political activism.
A comprehensive overview of Slavoj Zizek's thought, including all of his published works to date. Provides a solid basis in the work of an engaging thinker and teacher whose ideas will continue to inform philosophical, psychological, political, and cultural discourses well into the future Identifies the major currents in Zizek's thought, discussing all of his works and providing a background in continental philosophy and psychoanalytic theory necessary to its understanding Explores Zizek's growing popularity through his engagement in current events, politics, and cultural studies Pertains to a variety of fields, including contemporary philosophy, psychology, cultural studies, sociology, political science, esthetics, literary theory, film theory, and theology
Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies is an impassioned call for the realization of a progressive left politics in the United States. Through an assessment of the ideologies underlying contemporary political culture, Jodi Dean takes the left to task for its capitulations to conservatives and its failure to take responsibility for the extensive neoliberalization implemented during the Clinton presidency. She argues that the left’s ability to develop and defend a collective vision of equality and solidarity has been undermined by the ascendance of “communicative capitalism,” a constellation of consumerism, the privileging of the self over group interests, and the embrace of the language of victimization. As Dean explains, communicative capitalism is enabled and exacerbated by the Web and other networked communications media, which reduce political energies to the registration of opinion and the transmission of feelings. The result is a psychotic politics where certainty displaces credibility and the circulation of intense feeling trumps the exchange of reason. Dean’s critique ranges from her argument that the term democracy has become a meaningless cipher invoked by the left and right alike to an analysis of the fantasy of free trade underlying neoliberalism, and from an examination of new theories of sovereignty advanced by politicians and left academics to a look at the changing meanings of “evil” in the speeches of U.S. presidents since the mid-twentieth century. She emphasizes the futility of a politics enacted by individuals determined not to offend anyone, and she examines questions of truth, knowledge, and power in relation to 9/11 conspiracy theories. Dean insists that any reestablishment of a vital and purposeful left politics will require shedding the mantle of victimization, confronting the marriage of neoliberalism and democracy, and mobilizing different terms to represent political strategies and goals.
Parallax can be defined as the apparent displacement of an object, caused by a change in observational position. Slavoj Žižek is interested in the "parallax gap" separating two points between which no synthesis or mediation is possible, linked by an "impossible short circuit" of levels that can never meet. In this BIT, Žižek draws on Lacan, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Kant, Hegel, and Marx to explore the philosophical implications of parallax.
Dmitri Shostakovich and his music have been subject to heated debate concerning how the musical meaning of his works can be understood in relationship to the composer's life within the Soviet State. This book offers a useful corrective: setting aside biographically grounded and traditional analytical modes of explication, Reichardt uncovers and explores the musical ambiguities of four of the composer's middle string quartets. The music is constantly collapsing, reversing, inverting and denying its own structural imperatives. Reichardt argues that such confrontation of the musical language with itself, also speaks poignantly to the fractured state of a more general form of modern subjectivity.
In Zizek and Politics, Geoff Boucher and Matthew Sharpe go beyond standard introductions to spell out a new approach to reading Zizek, one that can be highly critical as well as deeply appreciative. They show that Zizek has a raft of fundamental positions that enable his theoretical positions to be put to work on practical problems. Explaining these positions with clear examples, they outline why Zizek's confrontation with thinkers such as Derrida, Foucault and Deleuze has so radically changed how we think about society. They then go on to track Zizek's own intellectual development during the last twenty years, as he has grappled with theoretical problems and the political climate of the War on Terror. This book is a major addition to the literature on Zizek and a crucial critical introduction to his thought.
French philosophy and cultural theory continue to hold a prestigious and influential position in European thought. One of the central themes of contemporary French philosophy is its concern with the theoretical and political status of the subject, a question which has been broached by structuralists and poststructuralists through an analysis of the construction of the subject in and by language, discourse, power and ideology.Contemporary French Philosophy outlines the construction of the subject in modern philosophy, focusing in particular on the seminal work of Althusser, Lacan, Derrida and Foucault. The book interrogates some of the most influential perspectives on the question of the subject to contest those postmodern voices which announce its disappearance or death. It argues instead that the question of the subject persists, even in those perspectives which seek to abandon it altogether.Providing a broad introduction to the field and an original analysis of some of the most influential theorists of the 20th Century, the book will be of great interest to political and literary theorists, cultural historians, as well as to philosophers.
Subjectivity and Sexual Difference in the Philosophers' Paul
Author: Benjamin H. Dunning
Publisher: Columbia University Press
The apostle Paul deals extensively with gender, embodiment, and desire in his authentic letters, yet many of the contemporary philosophers interested in his work downplay these aspects of his thought. Christ Without Adam is the first book to examine the role of gender and sexuality in the turn to the apostle Paul in recent Continental philosophy. It builds a constructive proposal for embodied Christian theological anthropology in conversation withÑand in contrast toÑthe ÒPaulinismsÓ of Stanislas Breton, Alain Badiou, and Slavoj _i_ek. PaulÕs letters bequeathed a crucial anthropological aporia to the history of Christian thought, insofar as the apostle sought to situate embodied human beings typologically with reference to Adam and Christ, but failed to work out the place of sexual difference within this classification. As a result, the space between Adam and Christ has functioned historically as a conceptual and temporal interval in which Christian anthropology poses and re-poses theological dilemmas of embodied difference. This study follows the ways in which the appropriations of Paul by Breton, Badiou, and _i_ek have either sidestepped or collapsed this interval, a crucial component in their articulations of a universal Pauline subject. As a result, sexual difference fails to materialize in their readings as a problem with any explicit force. Against these readings, Dunning asserts the importance of the Pauline AdamÐChrist typology, not as a straightforward resource but as a witness to a certain necessary failureÑthe failure of the Christian tradition to resolve embodied difference without remainder. This failure, he argues, is constructive in that it reveals the instability of sexual difference, both masculine and feminine, within an anthropological paradigm that claims to be universal yet is still predicated on male bodies.
Religion, Aesthetics, Politics and the Intervention of the Single Individual
Author: Armen Avanessian
Publisher: Museum Tusculanum Press
Søren Kierkegaard's radical protestant philosophy of the individual—in which a person's leap of faith is favored over general ethics—has become a model for many contemporary political theorists. Thinkers such as Slavoj Žižek and Alain Badiou have drawn on its revolutionary spirit to position truth above the constraints of political systems. In Kierkegaard and Political Theory, contributors from a wide range of disciplines—including theology, sociology, philosophy, and aesthetics—examine just how crucial Kierkegaard's anti-institutional thinking has been to such efforts and to modernity as a whole. The contributors convincingly position Kierkegaard's radical philosophy as the starting point for contemporary political theory. They show how he pioneered a modernity defined as an argument— an experience—of the impossibility of rationally comprehending a system of thinking. They show how religious and aesthetic experiences function as a response to this impossibility, how their coherence in politics must always be questioned, especially in history's extreme example: totalitarianism. Engaging this and many other subjects, they provide a compelling new line in Kierkegaard studies that illuminates new contours of our political thought. Armen Avanessian is founder of the research platform Speculative Poetics at the Free University Berlin. Sophie Wennerscheid is professor of Scandinavian Studies at the University of Ghent.
The very first book dedicated to Slavoj Zizek’s theoretical treatment of law, this book gathers widely recognized Zizek scholars as well as legal theorists to offer a sustained analysis of the place of law in Zizek’s work. Whether it is with reference to symbolic law, psychoanalytical law, religious law, positive law, human rights, to Lacan’s, Hegel’s, or Kant’s philosophies of law, or even to Jewish or Buddhist law, Zizek returns again and again to law. And what his work offers, this volume demonstrates, is a radically new approach to law, and a rethinking of its role within the framework of radical politics. With the help of Zizek himself – who here, and for the first time, directly engages with the topic of law – this collection provides an authoritative account of ‘Zizek and law’. It will be invaluable resource for researchers and students in the fields of law, legal theory, legal philosophy, political theory, psychoanalysis, theology, and cultural studies.
Tool-Being offers a new assessment of Martin Heidegger's famous tool-analysis, and with it, an audacious reappraisal of Heidegger's legacy to twenty-first-century philosophy. Every reader of Being and Time is familiar with the opposition between readiness-to-hand (Zuhandenheit) and presence-at-hand (Vorhandenheit), but commentators usually follow Heidegger's wishes in giving this distinction a limited scope, as if it applied only to tools in a narrow sense. Graham Harman contests Heidegger's own interpretation of tool-being, arguing that the opposition between tool and broken tool is not merely a provisional stage in his philosophy, but rather its living core. The extended concept of tool-being developed here leads us not to a theory of human practical activity but to an ontology of objects themselves. Tool-Being urges a fresh and concrete research into the secret contours of objects. Written in a lively and colorful style, it will be of great interest to anyone intrigued by Heidegger and anyone open to new trends in present-day philosophy.
On Garbage is the first book to examine the detritus of Western culture in full range—not only material waste and ruin, but also residual or "broken" knowledge and the lingering remainders of cultural thought systems.
Communist, conservative, anti-semantic - Slavoj Zizek's work attracts a lot of labels, most of them pejorative. Chris McMillan seeks to identify Zizek's unique and productive contribution to social and political theory, constructing a response to the diff
Contemporary Literary and Cultural Theory: The Johns Hopkins Guide is a clear, accessible, and detailed overview of the most important thinkers and topics in the field. Written by specialists from across disciplines, its entries cover contemporary theory from Adorno to Žižek, providing an informative and reliable introduction to a vast, challenging area of inquiry. Materials include newly commissioned articles along with essays drawn from The Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory and Criticism, known as the definitive resource for students and scholars of literary theory and for philosophical reflection on literature and culture.
This book of 10 engaging and original essays brings Spinoza outside the realm of academic philosophy, and presents him as a thinker who is relevant to contemporary problems and questions across a variety of disciplines.
Henry James and Alfred Hitchcock knew too much. Self-imposed exiles fully in the know, they approached American and European society as inside-outsiders, a position that afforded them a kind of double vision. Masters of their arts, manipulators of their audiences, prescient and pathbreaking in their techniques, these demanding and meticulous artists fiercely defended authorial and directorial control. Their fictions and films are obsessed with knowledge and its powers: who knows what? What is there to know? The Men Who Knew Too Much innovatively pairs these two greats, showing them to be at once classic and contemporary. Over a dozen major scholars and critics take up works by James and Hitchcock, in paired sets, to explore the often surprising ways that reading James helps us watch Hitchcock and what watching Hitchcock tells us about reading James. A wide-range of approaches offer fresh insights about spectatorship, narrative structure, and cinematic representation, as well as the relationship between technology and art, the powers of silence, sensory-and sensational-experiences, the impact of cognition, and the uncertainty of interpretation. The essays explore the avowal and disavowal of familial bonds, as well as questions of Victorian convention, female agency, and male anxiety. And they fruitfully engage issues related to patriarchy, colonialism, national, transnational, and global identities. The capacious collection, with its brilliant insights and intellectual surprises, is equally compelling in its range and cogency for James readers and film theorists, for Hitchcock fans and James scholars.