The Revolt of the Salaried Bourgeoisie

How did Bill Gates become the richest man in America? His wealth has nothing to do with Microsoft producing good software at lower prices than its competitors, or ‘exploiting’ its workers more successfully (Microsoft pays its intellectual workers a relatively high salary). Millions of people still buy Microsoft software because Microsoft has imposed itself as an almost universal standard, practically monopolising the field, as one embodiment of what Marx called the ‘general intellect’, by which[ …]

Slavoj Žižek: interview, with Sean O’Hagan

  The large lecture hall of the French Institute in Barcelona is full to overflowing. People line the walls, sit in the aisles and stand three-deep at the back. There are a few middle-aged, smartly dressed people in attendance as well as a handful of old leftists with long hair and caps, but the majority of the audience are young and stylishly dishevelled, the kind of people one would expect to see at a Hot[ …]

New Statesman interview, with Jonathan Derbyshire

Question: What relationship, if any, do you think your work has to the mainstream, normative, liberal political philosophy done in English and American universities? Zizek: I noticed something — maybe I’m just generalising this; I don’t know to what extent this is a rule– I noticed how many of the people who consider themselves to be more radical than the liberal standard, the left-liberal standard, most of them do not work in political philosophy properly[ …]

Humanism is not enough, Interview with Michael Hauser

[Appeared in 2009, International Journal of Zizek Studies, Vol. 3, No. 3, pp. 1-20; Interview held in November 2007. (pdf)] On a large scale you draw from Lacan and you show his potential usable to found a new direction of thought, sometimes called a post-deconstruction. Could you outline this new thought? First, I should clarify this: one of the standard philosophical approaches to Lacan is that in spite of all his high level of thinking[ …]

The Parallax View

[Extract. Appeared in New Left Review 25, January-February 2004] Abstract: The philosophical basis for social action, as recast in Kojin Karatani’s striking Transcritique. On Kant and Marx. Slavoj Žižek investigates the irreducible antinomies of production and circulation—or economics and politics—as envisioned from the gap in between. In today’s English, ‘pig’ refers to the animals with which farmers deal, while ‘pork’ is the meat we consume. The class dimension is clear here: ‘pig’ is the old Saxon[ …]

The Superego and the Act

I want to begin with Coca-cola. It’s no surprise that Coca-cola was first introduced as a medicine. Its strange taste seems to provide no particular satisfaction. It is not directly pleasing, however, it is as such, as transcending any use-value, like water, beer or wine, which definitely do quench our thirst, that Coke functions as the direct embodiment of “IT”, the pure surplus of enjoyment over standard satisfactions. It is the mysterious and elusive X[ …]